With six IPL titles between them, this heavyweight battle between the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings isn’t expected to disappoint. It comes as no surprise that Chennai has dominated the tournament from the outset, they’ve got a hat-trick of wins to show for it and could potentially make it four-from-four in Mumbai tomorrow night.
They’ve got a top order that means business this year and a bowling attack full of proven performers and excitement machines which begs the question, why haven’t they dominated like CSK? As mentioned above, despite their impressive top order backed up by a pretty handy middle & lower order, Mumbai have probably been slightly-outplayed in the batting department. Skipper Rohit Sharma has made some good starts but failed to go on with his innings, the same could be said about Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh and Quinton de Kock who finally broke the shackles against the Kings XI scoring 60 off 39 balls. While the Pandya brothers are extremely damaging strikers of the ball down the order, they aren’t always the most reliable options in the team which puts a lot of the responsibility on their quality top order to perform. Averaging 36.66 in the 2019 IPL so far, Quinton de Kock’s dynamic-scoring ability at the top of the order can’t be questioned, Kieron Pollard on the other hand must be looked at. The big-hitting West Indian has scored just 33 runs from three matches, we’ve seen this before from him and just when you think he’s going to get axed, he produces a pulverising knock with the willow.
Mumbai can’t afford to carry passengers in this match against the top team, the skipper must lead from the front with a huge performance if they’re to beat CSK. Two wicketless outings for Lasith Malinga could be testing the patience of the Mumbai Indians despite his impressive track record. The IPL’s all-time leading wicket taker is no longer the bowler he once was, relying a lot more on his slower balls these days. Star-seamer Jasprit Bumrah leads the wickets for Mumbai with 4 to his name, McClenaghan is the next best with 3. They need to get a bit more out of the rest of their attack, all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been unusually-ineffective with the ball so far and has conceded 117 runs in his first three games. The arrival of Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff could see him enter the playing XI given Mumbai’s recent struggles in the bowling department.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai notched up their third-consecutive win of the tournament in tough conditions at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. There was plenty of precipitation & dew to combat with a slippery ball in hand, but their bowling attack did an outstanding job to deny the Royals of victory. Deepak Chahar is becoming one of CSK’s most important bowlers, his opening spell of 2/19 set the standard for the rest of his teammate as veterans Imran Tahir (2/23) and Dwayne Bravo (2/32) cashed in as well. Conditions didn’t suit Ravindra Jadeja and debutante Mitchell Santner, they weren’t necessarily required though. CSK has been praised for their ability to maintain a strong playing XI and making very-little changes in the process, however it might be time to pull the trigger on South African skipper Faf du Plessis who has been warming the bench for three games now.
Harbhajan Singh could make a return as soon as tomorrow evening, and du Plessis is a good chance to play his first game of IPL 12 given that Ambati Rayudu’s batting woes at the top of the order have continued. Last season Rayudu and Shane Watson were unstoppable, now they’re both lucky to survive the powerplay. All this means absolutely nothing though, simply because CSK is undefeated after three games. Whether MS Dhoni who is in superb touch himself decides a batting reshuffle is required is yet to be determined, and it does seem likely at this stage. CSK No. 3 Suresh Raina seems to be growing in confidence each & every game, he’s managed two scores in the 30’s in consecutive-outings and looks to be building on something big. They may be older than the rest of the competition, but experience seems to be winning the race at this point in time.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Mumbai Indians
- Quinton de Kock
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Rohit Sharma
- Hardik Pandya
Wildcard pick – Suryakumar Yadav
Top 4 fantasy picks – Chennai Super Kings
- Suresh Raina
- Deepak Chahar
- Imran Tahir
- Shane Watson
Wildcard pick – Faf du Plessis
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma © 2. Quinton de Kock (wk) 3. Suryakumar Yadav/Ishan Kishan 4. Yuvraj Singh 5. Kieron Pollard/Evin Lewis 6. Hardik Pandya 7. Krunal Pandya 8. Mitchell McClenaghan 9. Mayank Markande 10. Lasith Malinga/Jason Behrendorff 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Shane Watson 2. Faf du Plessis 3. Suresh Raina 4. Ambati Rayudu/Kedar Jadhav 5. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Harbhajan Singh 9. Deepak Chahar 10. Shardul Thakur 11. Imran Tahir.
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.