Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings in the opening game of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League on Saturday. The clash in Abu Dhabi, between the two most successful teams of the T20 tournament, marks a long-awaited return to action for India’s top male cricketers.

Since the coronavirus-enforced lockdown began in March, England brought back international cricket by hosting West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia. But for India, it has been a lengthy break away from the game.

Which is why the excitement surrounding IPL 2020 has been palpable for players and fans alike. This isn’t the first time the IPL is being held outside India, but this has certainly been the longest interval between two editions of the tournament.

IPL 2020, Mumbai Indians preview: Squad, fixtures, strengths, weaknesses and more

And we have a cracking match on our hands to kick-start proceedings in the United Arab Emirates. The last time Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings took on each other was in the IPL 2019 final, which ended up being a rollercoaster ride with a nail-biting finish. This time around as well, the two teams are expected to produce another close contest.

The players may well be rusty after being away for so long but they can be expected to make up for it with their vigour to get back to professional cricket.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians look like a settled unit heading into IPL 2020. Rohit Sharma and Co have been slow starters traditionally but they would be keen to start strong and build some steam.

IPL 2020, Chennai Super Kings preview: Squad, fixtures, strengths, weaknesses and more

Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, have had precious little momentum in the buildup to the tournament. From senior players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulling out due to personal reasons to 13 members of the unit testing positive for Covid-19, the last month has been a tough period for CSK.

Luckily for them, though, in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, they have arguably the finest leader for such a situation. The former India captain is known for his calmness under pressure and there have been no indications to suggest that CSK has panicked.

The Dhoni effect? CSK’s unreal calm after losing Raina and Harbhajan is down to their skipper

The key players for Mumbai Indians this year will once again be Rohit, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah. Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga’s withdrawal was a setback for them but they would be hoping the likes of Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter-Nile can make up for the loss.

Chennai Super Kings will once again rely heavily on Dhoni, not just as a leader but as a player as well. With Raina and Harbhajan out, the onus will be on MSD to rally rest of the squad. The form of seniors like Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu will be crucial as well.

For CSK, revenge of sorts will also be on the cards as they lost all four meetings against MI in the 2019 season. In fact, MI are the only team against whom CSK have a less than 50% win record in IPL history.


MI v CSK - head to head

Played CSK wins MI wins Tied NR CSK win % MI win %
MI v CSK 28 11 17 0 0 39.28% 60.72%


– The highest IPL team total in Abu Dhabi is 206/4 by Kings XI Punjab against Chennai Super Kings in 2014.

– If CSK wins the IPL 2020 opener under MS Dhoni, it will be his 100th IPL win as CSK skipper.

– Rohit Sharma needs six more sixes to reach the 200-six mark in the IPL.


MI squad

Batsmen Bowlers All-rounders Wicketkeepers
Rohit Sharma Dhawal Kulkarni Hardik Pandya Ishan Kishan
Sherfane Rutherford Jasprit Bumrah Jayant Yadav Quinton de Kock
Suryakumar Yadav James Pattinson Kieron Pollard Aditya Tare
Anmolpreet Singh Mitchell McClenaghan Krunal Pandya
Chris Lynn Rahul Chahar Anukul Roy
Saurabh Tiwary Trent Boult Digvijay Deshmukh
Nathan Coulter-Nile Prince Balwant Rai Singh
Mohsin Khan

CSK squad

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeepers
Ruturaj Gaikwad Lungi Ngidi Dwayne Bravo MS Dhoni
Faf du Plessis Deepak Chahar Ravindra Jadeja N Jagadeesan
Shane Watson Karn Sharma Mitchell Santner
Ambati Rayudu Imran Tahir Sam Curran
M Vijay Shardul Thakur
Kedar Jadhav Monu Kumar
KM Asif
R. Sai Kishore
Piyush Chawla
Josh Hazlewood

(With inputs)