Their track record, team composition and the number of Indian Premier League trophies in their closet will make Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians two undisputed best and most successful combines of the IPL. For the season in particular and overall in general.
The duel between the two sides who possess three IPL titles apiece, the most for any teams in the 11-year history of the league, remains the most awaited game in the cricket’s richest league.
Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium could well resemble a Colosseum for the ﬁrst Chennai Super Kings–Mumbai Indians meeting of the season today (Wednesday) as the action starts from 8 pm. Host broadcaster Star Sport will go on air live from 6:30 to build up for what is dubbed as the El Clásico of the IPL.
CSK-MI rivalry has grown into IPL’s equivalent of the famed El Clásico between Spanish football giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Harbhajan Singh has once described CSK-MI matches to be as intense as India-Pakistan cricket encounters. It can be termed as one of the most classical T20 rivalries across the world.
The Yellow Lions gave started the IPL 2018 season with a win over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. Mahender Singh Dhoni-led Yellow Brigade had then capped the season with their third IPL title, matching the Mumbai Indians as the most successful IPL sides.
MS Dhoni’s men went on to win a third crown in their seventh appearance in the ﬁnal to level with MI for most titles in the competition.
Chennai heads into today’s game as table toppers after winning all three of their outings in stunning fashion to get their title-defence campaign oﬀ to a ﬂying start.
“It has been a good start. I won’t say dominating performances but just good, hard-fought wins… I was pretty pleased with our last performance (v Rajasthan Royals in Chennai) in particular, in how we got ourselves out of trouble, and that’s always pleasing from a coach’s point of view,” CSK Head coach Stephen Fleming told a pre-match news conference.
“By no means are we anywhere near where we want to be but we are just again winning some key moments with some experienced players standing up, which is a good sign,” he added.
Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, have one win in three games and will look to get their campaign back on track.
After beating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament-opener at home and easing past Delhi Capitals away, defending champions CSK beat Rajasthan Royals at Chepauk on the back of Dhoni’s stunning 75 not out and Dwayne Bravo’s sensational ﬁnal over.
“I thought the last innings he (Dhoni) played was one of the good ones, and I have seen a lot,” Fleming continued. “But his composure, his skill with the end of the innings helped us win the game, and that was the dominating factor between the two teams.
“Again, his presence, his calm and his inﬂuence over the team has been consistent through the years. It does have a big eﬀect when the players turn up and then know he is going to be consistent rather than upand-down depending on form, and he has been constant throughout the years I’ve been involved with him,” the Kiwi concluded.
While consistency are experience are Chennai Super Kings’ forte, the Mumbai combine has some dashing cricketers in their ranks who hold the potential to turn the tide in their favour single-handedly. Skipper Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock make a formidable opening pair with promising Surya Kumar Yadav, seasoned Yuvraj Singh and Caribbean all-rounder Kieron Pollard in the middle order.
The bowling starts with the best new ball baller in all formats of the game Jaspreet Bumrah, backed by the Pandya brothers – Krunal and Hardik – and Ben Cutting. Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga has reinvented himself as an old wine.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & 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, K M Asif, David Willey, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk).
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock(w), Rohit Sharma(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Ishan Kishan, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Anukul Roy, Ben Cutting, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Jayant Yadav, Alzarri Joseph