Chennai Super Kings, having secured a playoff spot, will host an inconsistent Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League on Friday. The defending champions will aim to consolidate their position at the top of the points table in a heavyweight clash at the Chepauk.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side roared back to form after two losses, with a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday night.
Come Friday, the hosts would be looking to continue their momentum. The visitors, currently in third spot with 12 points from 10 games, are coming off a defeat against Rajasthan Royals and will be keen to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
While CSK must have welcomed Shane Watson’s return to form, the team would be hoping for Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav to get going ahead of the knockout phase. It is important for Jadhav to get his touch back with the ICC World Cup looming as well.
CSK banking on strong bowling unit
The bowlers have played a big role in CSK’s success so far, especially at home, on sluggish tracks. The much-improved Deepak Chahar will be key in the matches to come with his intelligent bowling at the start and at the death.
Though Imran Tahir, who is the second highest wicket-taker with 16, went wicketless in the SRH match, the South African veteran will be expected to stymie the powerful Mumbai Indians batting line-up, along with fellow spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh.
The visitors have had a roller coaster season so far and they now need to be at their best in the last lap of the league phase.
In Rohit Sharma, they have a shrewd captain who leads from the front, and a solid batting unit that includes Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal.
Jasprit Bumrah and Co will be wary of CSK’s batting with Watson having found his mojo again and the ever-reliable Dhoni in form. An interesting battle looms between the two three-time champions.
Head to Head in IPL
Matches played: 25
Won by CSK: 11
Won by MI: 14
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleijn.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jason Behrendorff, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Anmolpreet Singh, Siddhesh Lad, Ankul Roy, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ben Cutting, Ishan Kishan (wk), Aditya Tare, Rasikh Salam, Barinder Sran, Jayant Yadav, Beuran Hendricks.
[Inputs from PTI]