There’s absolutely no doubt that Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are the two best teams in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the 12 seasons so far, these two sides have accounted for as many as seven IPL titles between them. In fact, all of those came in this 2010s-decade itself. While MI won in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, CSK lifted it in 2010, 2011 and 2018.
CSK have made it to the playoffs every season they’ve played while MI haven’t made it only twice in 10 seasons (2016 and 2018). Moreover, their rivalry is one of the biggest in IPL cricket. MI have the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head record. Moreover, both teams are filled with superstars.
Thus, as we look back at the 2010s-decade, we form the best-combined XI from CSK and MI that played in the 2010s.
1. Rohit Sharma
He may not open as frequently in the IPL as he does in international cricket. But Rohit Sharma is one of the best white-ball openers going around in world cricket at the moment. There are very few who can match him when he gets going and he can change games at the top of the order.
Rohit has not scored too big in the IPL but his contributions have been vital for MI. Despite not having big tournaments with the bat, the Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper has amassed 3728 runs (from 143 games) which is the second-most among MI and CSK players. He has scored 28 half-centuries and one hundred as well.
Moreover, Rohit has been excellent as a leader. In fact, he is the most successful IPL captain as he’s led MI to four IPL title wins in this decade. Hence, he will start in almost every Mumbai Indians (MI) XI.
2. Faf du Plessis
This may be a slightly surprising pick but Faf du Plessis has been Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) crisis man. He has stepped up when the team has been in trouble. The South African hasn’t played all the games but has been a vital cog in the CSK squad ever since he made his IPL debut in 2012.
While there are two clear highest run-getters for CSK in this decade, Du Plessis is ranked third in that list. He’s scored 1853 runs at an average of 31.40. Moreover, he’s been one of CSK’s better players in the knockout stages. In 2018 and 2019, du Plessis scored half-centuries and led CSK to the final.
Hence, there were a couple of others like Michael Hussey and Shane Watson who could’ve filled this spot. But mainly due to his big-match temperament and contribution, Du Plessis gets the nod.
3. Suresh Raina
For a long time, Suresh Raina was the all-time leading run-getter in the IPL. In fact, there was hardly anyone who came close to him. Despite not winning and dominating run charts even in a single season, Raina flew to the top of the all-time batting charts.
His batting might have dipped in the last couple of years and he may not be Mr. IPL anymore. But when you consider the entire decade, Raina has had quite an impact. Any CSK team looks incomplete without Raina. He’s been their premier run-getter and has scored a lot of runs in the first half of the decade.
There has been a dip yet the Uttar Pradesh lad has amassed 3672 runs at an average of 33.08. He has a very good strike-rate of 136.40. Moreover, the left-hander has batted at 3 most times in the IPL and hence, will fill that role in this CSK-MI combined XI.
4. Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu is one of the few players who have played for both Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI). In fact, Rayudu has played only for these two franchises in his IPL career. He made his IPL debut in 2010 and was a part of the MI setup for eight years before shifting his base to CSK after the latter picked him up in the mega 2018 auctions.
Rayudu had impressed in his maiden season and had scored 356 runs which came at a strike-rate of 144.71. He continued his form and formed a key part of the MI middle-order. But in 2018, when he shifted to CSK, he was moved up the order in the absence of Faf du Plessis. Rayudu reveled in that role and was CSK’s highest run-getter in 2018. He did struggle in 2019 but he’s done enough throughout the decade to enter this XI at No. 4.
The Guntur-born batsman scored 2416 runs for MI while 884 came for CSK. A total of 3300 runs in the 2010s-decade put him third on the list of most runs among CSK and MI batsmen.
5. MS Dhoni (C & WK)
There’s absolutely no doubt about this spot. There has been no better wicketkeeper-batsman in the history of the IPL so far. Be it with the bat or with the gloves behind the stumps, MS Dhoni has been brilliant in the Indian T20 league and will definitely go down as one of the legends and all-time greats.
Ever since Chennai Super Kings (CSK) returned to the IPL after a two-year-hiatus, Dhoni has literally carried the team on his back. He’s been the backbone of the batting line-up. Not only in the last two seasons, Dhoni has been consistently getting runs for CSK throughout the decade.
The CSK skipper has amassed 3112 runs at an average of 45.10. He even has a strike-rate of 142.49. Dhoni also led CSK to two IPL titles at the start of the decade and CSK have been in five other finals as well. Thus, Dhoni will be the wicket-keeper of the side and his skills behind the stumps are second to none.
6. Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard may not win you every game but on his day, he can turn the game and turn a losing position into a winning one. In 2010, he was the most expensive player in the IPL auction and since then, MI have never left him. Be it via retention or through the auctions, the MI franchise has always found a way to get back Pollard.
One of the big reasons for that is the impact the Caribbean all-rounder has on the game. He is one of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball and is a big six-hitter as well. Pollard has also been consistent as well. There have been patches where he’s struggled but he’s managed to get out of that and has shown some terrific form and hitting prowess.
Pollard has played 148 IPL games in this decade which is the most for any MI or CSK player. He has aggregated 2755 runs which have come at a strike-rate of 146.78. He will be the finisher in this XI along with MS Dhoni.
7. Hardik Pandya
It’s been only in 2015 that Hardik Pandya made his IPL debut but he is already one of the most important players for the Mumbai Indians (MI). Be it with the bat, ball or in the field, Pandya is a game-changer and a match-winner.
The numbers tell only a part of the story and the younger Pandya has scored 1068 runs and picked up 42 wickets in his IPL career. However, his strike-rates with both bat and ball are good and they make a telling contribution. The Baroda seam-bowling all-rounder had a strike-rate of 154.78 with the ball and strikes once every 20 deliveries with the ball.
Pandya is crucial to the balance of MI big time. At No 7, he is not only expected to don the finisher’s hat but also bowl at least two or three useful overs in a game. Thus, the 26-year-old has played five seasons so far and has had an quite a bit of impact on MI.
8. Harbhajan Singh
Here is another cricketer who has played for both, MI and CSK and like Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh has also played only for two teams in the IPL. For the first 10 seasons, the Punjab off-spinner was with Mumbai Indians (MI) before he was bought by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2018.
Harbhajan is third on the list of most wickets in the history of the IPL. In fact, out of 150 wickets, 133 have come in this decade itself. 110 of them came when he was playing for MI and had a very good economy of 7.05. With CSK, the turbanator picked up 23 wickets across two seasons.
He can bowl in the powerplay and also, at the death. Moreover, he can swing his bat around if needed too and can hit some big sixes.
9. Lasith Malinga
He doesn’t get as much credit as some of the other bowlers but Lasith Malinga has had a huge impact in the IPL over the last decade. The ace Sri Lankan pacer is the leading wicket-taker in the history of the IPL. While there are a couple of spinners closing in on that record, there is no fast bowler who is even close.
Out of Malinga’s 170 IPL scalps, 152 came since the start of 2010. He has an average of 20.09 while he has a strike-rate of 16.64 in this decade. He’s been with Mumbai Indians (MI) right from 2009 and even when he was unsold, MI roped him in as a bowling mentor in 2018.
He doesn’t really have the same pace as before but on most occasions, Malinga executes his variations to perfection. The veteran fast bowler has been the heart of MI’s bowling for so many years and he will make it to most decade-end XIs.
10. Jasprit Bumrah
It was back in 2013 when Jasprit Bumrah arrived on the IPL scene and dismissed Virat Kohli and picked up 3/32 on IPL debut. He’s gradually grown in stature and has become India’s leading fast bowler across formats. In fact, he is also the leader of the Mumbai Indians (MI) attack.
It is no secret that Bumrah has the ability to bowl at the start – in the powerplay, middle and also the death. He can use his variations really well and has been India’s and MI’s best death bowler over the years. The Gujarat lad has also shown excellent levels of fitness as well and he’s hardly broken down in the middle of a game or an IPL season.
Bumrah has played 77 matches in the IPL and has picked up 82 wickets. The numbers aren’t telling you the impact he’s had. Thus, he will be the lead pacer of this attack in the MI-CSK combined XI.
11. Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir has been around for almost the full decade now. In fact, he was one of the late-bloomers in international cricket. The South African leg-spinner made his IPL debut in 2014 and has played four games every season for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Overall, he has taken 79 wickets at an average of 20.39.
However, it may be surprising that Tahir has got the nod ahead of multiple stars. Tahir has done very well in the 2018 IPL but was even batter in the 2019 season. In fact, he even won the Purple Cap in 2019 as he finished the bowling charts with most wickets in the tournament.
The veteran leg-spinner has been in the thick of things and one may question his inclusion in this XI as he’s played for CSK only in two seasons – 2018 and 2019. However, he has been one of the best spinners to have donned the CSK jersey.
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