At ‘home’, CSK hopes to maintain winning run

The Chennai outfit relies heavily on Dwayne Bravo in the final overs, and it's time someone like Shardul Thakur backs the West Indies star from the other end.

The Chennai outfit hope for Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis to come good.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The first match of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be seen as a microcosm of how the tournament has panned out so far for Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. In that game, CSK prevailed from a hapless situation in the final over. Since then, it has gone on to win three more cliff-hangers in the final over to post five wins out of six.

For MI, it is the inverse (five losses from six games) with four of its five defeats — including the first one – coming in the final over from comfortable positions.

As the two sides get ready for the return leg here on Saturday, CSK has a chance to cement its position at the top of the table, while for MI, there can’t be a better way to restart its season than getting one over the leader.

 

Over the next three days, CSK would like to pull ahead of the pack as it takes on two teams at the bottom of the table with a match against Delhi Daredevils on Monday.

Two wins here will put the team in a very comfortable position for the second half of the season and could set the platform for the former champions to even aim for a top-two finish.

An area of weakness though is the fact that the team relies a lot on Dwayne Bravo to deliver in the final overs with the ball and would need someone like Shardul Thakur to do more to provide support from the other end.

But bowling consultant, Eric Simmons, downplayed the fact CSK has the second worst economy rate in the final five overs after RCB, putting down to the nature of wickets.

For MI, the only silver lining is the fact that it needs to win a minimum of six out of its next eight games to stay alive and this, in a way, allows the team play a more aggressive brand of cricket.

Even though some of the key players in the team be it skipper Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard or Hardik Pandya haven’t fired, in four losses the team lost key moments after having the opposition on the mat.

While the abject surrender to SRH in its last match, chasing a modest total, would have raised few unwanted doubts, the team would start looking at ways to clinch the key moments than thinking at an overhaul.

  Dugout videos