In what is arguably the most storied rivalry in the league, another chapter will unfold on Tuesday as Chennai Super Kings host Mumbai Indians at the Chepauk in Qualifier 1 of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League. The match promises to be an intense battle as it pits the two most successful teams in the T20 tournament’s history against each other.

Rohit Sharma-led MI have won the title thrice, as have Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s CSK. Mumbai, though, lead Chennai 15-11 in their IPL head-to-head, with their two most recent victories coming this year.

On Tuesday, the Super Kings will be banking on home comfort to turn the tide against an opposition that seems to be peaking at the right time. CSK boast of a tremendous record at home this season, winning six of their seven games at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

The one blip? Against Mumbai, of course.

In fact, Mumbai Indians have historically done well in Chennai. Since 2013, CSK have lost only four matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium and three of those losses were against the Paltan.

The CSK top-order has fired in fits and starts in the league phase and will need to come out all guns blazing against a formidable MI bowling attack that includes Jasprit Bumrah [17 wickets], Lasith Malinga [15 wickets], the Pandya brothers [Hardik with 14 wickets and Krunal with 10 wickets], leggie Rahul Chahar [10 wickets] and possibly Mitchell McClenaghan.

Dhoni, as always, the key

Skipper Dhoni [CSK’s highest run-getter with 368 runs from 12 matches, 3 fifties] has been the mainstay of a rather inconsistent CSK batting unit and he, along with Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina, will hold the key in the crunch game against Mumbai.

CSK, however, will miss the services of the Kedar Jadhav, who sustained a shoulder injury in the last league match against Kings XI Punjab. Given that Jadhav wasn’t in the best of form anyway, it will be interesting to see how CSK cope with his absence — Murali Vijay could slot in as an opener or Dhruv Shorey could come in as a like-for-like replacement.

Bowling has been CSK’s strong point so far this season and becomes even more potent on the sluggish wicket on offer at home. CSK boast of the best bowling numbers among teams this season (best economy rate and average). Imran Tahir [21 wickets], the second highest-wicket taker this season after Kagiso Rabada [25 wickets], has been at the forefront of an effective CSK spin trio, which includes veteran Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja [both with 13 wickets each]. And the success of Tahir and Co against the powerful MI batting line-up could very well determine the course of the match.

Focus on MI’s top-order

MI captain Sharma [386 runs], fellow opener Quinton De Kock [492, fourth-highest run-scorer this IPL], Hardik Pandya [380 runs] and Kieron Pollard [240 runs] can be hard to stop once they get going and CSK’s bowlers will have a tough task at hand.

The onus would also be on the ever-improving Deepak Chahar, who has taken 16 wickets so far, to provide early breakthroughs for Chennai and stifle Mumbai’s batting line-up.

The clash also puts forth an interesting match-up between two of the best finishers this season – Dhoni and Hardik. Both players have been responsible for handing their respective teams multiple victories thanks to some brutal hitting in the death overs. With both CSK and MI having strong bowling attacks along with out-of-form top-order batsmen (to varying degrees), the outcome could well be decided by the power-hitters at the end.

Previous meetings in 2019

  • When the two sides met early on in Mumbai, Rohit’s men brought an end to the defending champions’ unbeaten start to the season. The star of the show was Hardik, of course, with his power-hitting and crucial breakthroughs with the ball. In what will be a night to remember for the young all-rounder, MI produced a clinical performance to hand CSK their first defeat of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League. And a convincing 37-run defeat at that.
  • It was a long time coming, it was not pretty but Rohit Sharma’s first half century of the season helped MI end another CSK streak — this time, their winning run at Chepauk. Mumbai won by 46 runs and managed to keep their incredible record of not losing in Chennai for four consecutive times (a streak that dates back to 2010 for various reasons) while CSK suffered their first defeat at Chepauk since their return. Worth remembering, though, that Dhoni was missing in action in that match.

Head to head in IPL:

Overall: Matches – 26, Mumbai Indians – 15, Chennai Super Kings – 11.

Since 2015: Matches – 8, Mumbai Indians – 6, Chennai Super Kings – 2.

In knockouts / playoffs: Matches – 7, Mumbai Indians – 3, Chennai Super Kings – 4.

Key battles to watch out for:

  • MS Dhoni vs Lasith Malinga / Jasprit Bumrah
  • Hardik Pandya vs Dwayne Bravo
  • Deepak Chahar vs Rohit Sharma


Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma [c], Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Anmolpreet Singh, Siddhesh Lad, Ankul Roy, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ben Cutting, Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare, Rasikh Salam, Barinder Sran, Jayant Yadav, Beuran Hendricks and Lasith Malinga.

Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni [c], Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan, Scott Kuggeleijn.

Match starts at 7.30 pm.

[Inputs from PTI and]