The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been concluded up to the two-third mark and seems to have come a good and long way since the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Mumbai Indians (MI) met in the tournament opener a little over a month ago. Coming to this reverse fixture at the Sharjah International Stadium on Friday, the two teams will meet each other again, although their progress has gone in absolute opposite directions since their first meeting.
Problems for the CSK in the season had started even before the tournament went underway, with a couple of mainstays backing out and multiple members falling prey to the virus. However, they did well to end on the correct side of the much-acclaimed El Clasico of the IPL. Ever since then, little has gone their way, and they have been lagging in the race.
Mathematically, they are still in the tournament, although a qualification from here would be one cricketing miracle. Coming into this clash, CSK has nothing to back themselves as they received a hammering defeat against the Rajasthan Royals in the last encounter.
To add to their misery, the Yellow Army has no longer access to the services of their influential all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who is out of the tournament due to an injury. A word being consistently associated with CSK’s campaign this year has been “intent”, more precisely, the lack of it. Much similar to the way they have left way too much for themselves during the chases this year, MS Dhoni must know that his team has left for itself a lot to do in the remaining games, and they are now in a race to preserve their record of qualifying in the playoffs every season.
Their rivals, Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, with a firing top-order, solid middle order, electric fielding unit, and an envious troika in the pace column have been sprinting like champions are expected to. The concern regarding the playoff-qualification remains to be a mere formality for Rohit Sharma’s men, who are coming into this anticipated clash after a nerve-wrangling defeat against the Kings XI Punjab.
Though the team must credit itself for managing to take the game into a Super Over, being on the losing side in arguably the greatest T20 game against the then bottom-placed KXIP must pinch them a bit.
A win over CSK will take MI back to the summit, although CSK must look to find and ignite the “spark” before they start looking towards the next year.
Pitch and conditions
The track at Sharjah has become kind towards the bowlers of late. While the first four games recorded four successive 200 plus scores with the average first innings total of 219, that number has dipped to 182 in the following four matches.
Despite the negligible length of boundaries, the slowness of the track has kept the spinners interested, whereas decent bounce and some initial movement has allowed the pacers to stay relevant as well. The small ground dimensions certainly provide a much higher value of shots for the batsmen, but considering the encounters in the recent past, the bowlers will have a chance to breathe well.
Playing Combinations for CSK vs MI
Chennai Super Kings
A quick-fire cameo, a three-ball duck, and a slow 22; Sam Curran’s figures as an opener have been contrasting thus far. Though Shane Watson and Rayudu have been scoring well, their knocks have lacked the ballast that is expected from them. MS Dhoni has not been able to fire either and is yet to score a half-century this season. Ravindra Jadeja has had some good outings with the bat, but not much could be left for a lower middle-order batsman.
Going by what MS Dhoni said after the last game, CSK might want to give chances to benchwarmers: Ruturaj Gaikwad and N Jagadeesan in place of Kedar Jadhav, who has largely had a cold run this year. It remains to be seen when does CSK involves veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir in the scheme of things. Deepak Chahar, and Shardul Thakur, will be led by Josh Hazlewood in the pace attack.
Probable XI- Sam Curran, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav/N Jagadeesan, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, Josh Hazlewood
Quinton de Kock has been in sublime form, whereas his partner Rohit Sharma and the middle-order, including Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, have been in decent nick too. Further, the power-packed cameos of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya have led their team to solid positions. And this has been MI’s story this year: different players stepping up at different times for the team’s benefit.
Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah have been spot on with the ball. MI might want to bring in James Pattinson at the expense of Coulter-Nile, who has been slightly expensive and has lacked discipline.
Probable XI- Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile/James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
CSK vs MI Head to Head
Played- 31 | CSK won- 13 | MI won- 18 | NR- 0
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
TV– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi
Live Streaming– Disney + Hotstar VIP
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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