Mumbai Indians look to extend winning momentum in marquee clash

Jasprit Bumrah and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Source: IPL

Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings has always been one of the marquee clashes of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Just to put that rivalry into context, the two sides have met on 36 occasions, with CSK winning 16 and MI triumphing 20 times. Of course, they have played in summit clashes, with the highlight being the IPL 2019 final. Although CSK are placed third while MI slot in at the 7th position in the points table, there is only a difference of one win between the two teams. So, when these two sides lock horns in the cauldron of the Wankhede Stadium, there would be excitement and anticipation.

After a slow start to their campaign, MI have charted a turnaround of sorts, having won their last two matches. Jasprit Bumrah has yet again been the cornerstone of the splendid performance, bagging a five-for in a high-scoring encounter versus Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Suryakumar Yadav showcasing his 360-degree pyrotechnics in that game is akin to a forewarning given to other sides that he is back to his best after being laid low by an injury.

Rohit Sharma, Tilak Varma and Ishan Kishan, as well as Tim David and Romario Shepherd, the two big-hitters in the line-up, have made an impression. So, ahead of the crucial match, MI have a settled look to their batting unit. Although there are a few problems on the bowling side of things. Gerald Coetzee, the South African fast bowler, has scalped eight victims but he has also been expensive.  MI’s spinners have struggled to find their groove as well, even though Shreyas Gopal put on a tidy performance in largely good conditions for batting in the previous game.

Meanwhile, CSK have found it rather difficult to emerge victorious away from home. In fact, they are yet to win a game outside of their home base. After a bright start to the season, Rachin Ravindra’s form has nosedived, with pacemen mostly looking to take the ball away from the left-hand batter.

Ruturaj Gaikwad has been the second-highest run-getter for the side, but the CSK skipper has a strike-rate on the lower side – 117.42. Daryl Mitchell too hasn’t got going. At the Wankhede, where the surface is expected to favour the batters, the CSK think tank would hope for their batting unit to fire.

Mustafizur Rahman is their top wicket-taker with nine scalps. But will his off-cutters work at the Wankhede? Can Deepak Chahar take advantage of any swing on offer upfront? Will Tushar Deshpande taste success at a ground where he has played a substantial number of matches? Would Matheesha Pathirana’s likely absence affect CSK in the end overs?

In a nutshell, it should be an intriguing contest between two sides who have a lot of history in the IPL. The Hardik Pandya-led MI, for one, would believe they have the necessary resources to usurp their arch-rivals on their home-turf.