CSK vs MI: It's Dhoni vs Rohit as IPL 2021 returns with rivals Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings kicking off UAE leg
After what happened in Manchester and more recently in Rawalpindi, here's hoping the IPL can remove the uncertainties of what has transpired in world cricket over the last 10 days.
Little over four months after the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India brought the IPL 2021 to an indefinite halt, the tournament is back, albeit this time, in the UAE to finish the remaining 31 matches of the season. The last time the IPL was on, fingers were pointed at it. With India grappling with a deadly Wave 2, questions were being asked of the IPL's existence. It went on silently, before the dreadful virus made its way through the bio-bubble and affected the players.
Rightfully, it was called off. But now it's back, once again to revive cricket and do what it does best – provide entertainment and restore sanity back to cricket. And what better way than for the IPL to begin its second half by pitting its two giants against one another. The 'El Clasico' of the IPL as familiar rivals Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will get the second half underway.
MI and CSK have stolen the show several time in the past. Think of the IPL final in 2010, 2018 and 2019, to go with so many memorable league matches. And this promises to add to legacy of this rival. On one side is man in form Rohit Sharma, who cannot put a foot wrong. Fresh off a fabulous series in England, Rohit had only a few days to prepare after being transferred from England to the UAE via a charter flight. On the other hand, MS Dhoni has been training with his boys for a few weeks, but he doesn't have much game time behind him.
Two of the most successful IPL teams to kick things off. It doesn't get better than that. Welcome back, IPL. Bring it on!
What: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Match 30
When: Sunday, September 19
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Weather: Clear skies with temperature touching the late 30s
Mumbai Indians: MI's XI pretty much picks itself. First, there are the five usual suspects – Rohit, Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. Then, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan promise to bolster the already power-packed batting. Rahul Chahar is expected to be the frontline spinner ahead of Jayant Yadav. While Trent Boult is surely going to partner Bumrah, pacer Adam Milne is expected to get the nod over Nathan Coulter-Nile for his stupendous show at The Hundred.
MI Probable XI: 1 Rohit Sharma (Captain), 2 Quinton de Kock (WK), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Adam Milne, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Rahul Chahar, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Chennai Super Kings: CSK would breathe the sigh of relief with Faf du Plessis – their leading run-getter in the first-half – being declared fit after recovering from a groin injury he sustained at the CPL. Furthermore, Dwayne Bravo, who recently played his 500th T20 game and won a CPL title, is a likely starter as well. It will be a shocker if Suresh Raina, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur do not get a place in the XI. In addition, in Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi, CSK have a well-sorted fast bowling duo. Last year, when the tournament was played in the UAE, Imran Tahir played just three matches.
CSK Probable XI: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 MS Dhoni (Captain/WK) 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Stats and Trivia
- Bumrah and Bravo will be playing their 100th game for their respective franchises
- Ishan is 35 runs shy of competing 1000 runs for MI