It’s been an almighty comeback to the IPL for the Super Kings who find themselves perched on the top of the standings having lost just one out of their six matches. They’ll play hosts to the struggling-Mumbai Indians who sith one spot off the bottom of the points table, it’s been tough times for the reigning IPL champions who seem to be completely out of the equation in 2018.
Three-consecutive wins in the tournament has ignited MS Dhoni & his Chennai Super Kings as they look to stamp their authority on the competition. I’ve already said it once, and I’ll say it again; this teams all-round ability to win matches is incredible, they’ve got so many wicket-taking options with the ball and an array of high quality batsmen at their disposal, you just about have to play faultless cricket against this bunch. It may be a bit early to be making a judgment call like this, but from where I’m sitting Ambati Rayudu has hands down been Chennai’s best new recruit in IPL 11. With the expectation that Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson would all excel at some stage in the tournament, it’s been Rayudu who has consistently brought his A-game and contributed some stunning scores in the process. A lacklustre 2017 IPL with the Mumbai Indians where he was starved of opportunities saw him make the move the Chennai, and he hasn’t looked back since as he continues to pile on the runs in the 2018, 283 in fact at an average of 47.16. It was interesting that Chennai opted to drop Faf du Plessis instead of Sam Billings in their last game, as dynamic as the Englishman is, Faf brings a lot to the table in terms of on field leadership, elite fielding and of course his exceptional batting ability up the order. After scoring that century against Rajasthan, Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has managed just 9 & 7 in his past two outings, although it hasn’t affected the teams overall success due to skipper MS Dhoni and a couple others posting some considerable numbers with the bat. The “new big dog” Dwayne Bravo is finally showing the comp why he’s one of the world’s best T20 bowlers, with over 400 wickets in the format he’s a certified-superstar and is just starting to fire in IPL 11 with five wickets in his past three games. The Super Kings will look to expose Mumbai in the batting department, they were just recently bowled out for 87 by Hyderabad which should see the likes of Imran Tahir, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur all licking their lips.
When are we going to start seeing some improvement from the Mumbai Indians in IPL 11? There’s certainly no sign of it at the moment, and getting knocked over for 87 runs in a low run chase hasn’t helped their cause a whole lot either. The one thing that has really stood out for the Mumbai Indians this season is their reluctancy to experiment like other teams in the competition, it’s as if they’re just waiting for this specific combination to click any moment now. I hate to break it to you Mumbai, but you might want to rethink your strategy in order to get your IPL campaign back on track. Why Kieron Pollard is still in the team is beyond me, you’ve got a proven-performer in the name of JP Duminy who averages 39.86 with the bat in the IPL compared to Pollard’s 28.30, yet Mumbai still elect to run with the big West Indian for his destructive hitting alone which has been non-existent in IPL 11. A big reason for their downfall has been the lack of presence at the crease from skipper Rohit Sharma, who apart from scoring that 94 against RCB has been dreadful. If anything, that 94 hides the fact that Rohit hasn’t made it into the 20’s in his other five innings which is just a confidence-killer as a specialist batsman. Highlighting the performances of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav with the bat, they are the only two individuals who have found form this season for Mumbai which is a reflection on the team’s current position on the points table. Changes must be made, otherwise Mumbai will continue to go backwards in the tournament to the point where they hit rock-bottom. It may sound strange, but their bowing unit has probably been the most impressive aspect of the Mumbai Indians in IPL 11, it’s a shame the batsmen haven’t been able to back up their good work.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Chennai Super Kings | 27th match | Pune
- Ambati Rayudu
- Imran Tahir
- MS Dhoni
- Suresh Raina
- Deepak Chahar
Wildcard pick – Dwayne Bravo
Top 5 fantasy picks | Mumbai Indians | 27th match | Pune
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Krunal Pandya
- Ishan Kishan
- Hardik Pandya
Wildcard pick – JP Duminy
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai are likely to bring back Faf du Plessis in place of either Sam Billings or Shane Watson, Billings being the most likely to make way after a string of single-digit scores in the tournament. They may continue to tweak their bowling attack in order to get a good indication of what their best combination is, they’re yet to play fast bowling English-duo David Willey and Mark Wood who probably won’t feature in the side until the second half of IPL 11 unless injuries occur.
There’s plenty of work in this XI that needs to be done, probably the most notable one of them being Kieron Pollard who offers no stability in an-already shaky batting line-up. Picked for his six-hitting ability down the order, Pollard’s tournament consisting of 63 runs from six matches has inevitably failed, and it’s about time South African all-rounder JP Duminy gets a crack at making an impact in Mumbai’s middle order. The Mumbai Indians haven’t made a lot of changes to their XI since their season opener, so it’s highly unlikely that they’ll decide to bring in a host of new players which could be just what they need to rejuvenate the side, but that mindset doesn’t appear to be there.
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Shane Watson/Sam Billings 2. Ambati Rayudu 3. Suresh Raina 4. Faf du Plessis 5. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 6. Ravindra Jadeja 7. Dwayne Bravo 8. Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma 9. Deepak Chahar 10. Shardul Thakur 11. Imran Tahir.
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Suryakumar Yadav 2. Evin Lewis 3. Rohit Sharma © 4. JP Duminy/Kieron Pollard 5. Ishan Kishan (wk) 6. Krunal Pandya 7. Hardik Pandya 8. Mayank Markande 9. Mitchell McClenaghan 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Mustafizur Rahman.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.