MI vs CSK: In-form Chennai starts as favourite in Mumbai’s den

With captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in red-hot form, Chennai Super Kings is sitting pretty on top of the table with three wins in as many games. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, hasn’t had a memorable outing so far, bagging a solitary victory in three matches.

In-form CSK will start as favourites against MI.   -  IPL

 

Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will square off in an Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

The recent head-to-head figures show that Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians has beaten the Super Kings in four out of its last five outings. Chennai, however, has been in roaring form so far.

With captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in red-hot form, the three-time champion is sitting pretty on top of the table with three wins in as many games. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, hasn’t had a memorable outing so far, bagging a solitary victory in between two defeats.

Just a couple of days ago, the 37-year-old Dhoni hammered a 46-ball 75 against Rajasthan Royals to guide his team from 27-3 to 175-5. That particular innings by Dhoni not only evoked memories but also bolstered the side’s confidence.

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And in Mumbai, the Super Kings will look to keep the momentum going.

The side looks extremely balanced in all the departments and with seasoned campaigners like Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu around, CSK has all the resources to change the direction of any game.

This particular fixture could well be significant for Rayudu, who is still hopeful of retaining his No.4 spot in the national team for the World Cup.

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Though the Hyderabad-based batsman has been off-colour so far — 34 runs in three innings — one fruitful innings can again boost his confidence and also bolster the team’s batting unit.

As far as bowling is concerned, Chennai looks like a well-oiled unit with Deepak Chahar and Dwayne Bravo in good form. The spin wing is also extremely well-balanced with South African Imran Tahir and Indian ace Ravindra Jadeja playing their roles perfectly after the power play.

Mumbai Indians has been over-dependent on openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

 

While Chennai appears to tick all the boxes, Mumbai has been over-dependent on openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock. Rohit promoted himself up the order, keeping the World Cup in mind, but he has not been able to flex his muscles so far. And that, invariably, has hurt the team.

Though Yuvraj Singh began the season with a gritty knock of 53 against Delhi Capitals, he looked inconsistent with scores of 23 and 18 in the subsequent matches.

If Mumbai has to bring its campaign back on track, the batting unit has to step up.

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Last season, young Ishan Kishan played some big knocks for Mumbai but he hasn’t been given a game yet in 2019. It would be interesting to see if the host team hands him the cap on Wednesday.

Mumbai, however, will have the services of its West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph. Mumbai could replace Lasith Malinga, who will head back home for the Super Provincial one-day tournament with all-rounder Ben Cutting.

Statistics may give Mumbai the edge, but by current form, Chennai starts as the favourite in a clash of heavyweights!

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