MI vs CSK: A battle royale to start the proceedings
That final on May 12 in Hyderabad is among the many potboilers that CSK and MI have dished out over the years in the Indian Premier League (IPL). As the 2020 edition finally gets going in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, five months after it was originally scheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 08:07 IST
It’s the last ball of the 2019 final. Chennai Super Kings need two to defend their title while Mumbai Indians are in search of a dot ball. Lasith Malinga bowls a perfect slower one which Shardul Thakur fails to connect and is trapped leg before. The Rohit Sharma-led MI become champions for a record fourth time.
That final on May 12 in Hyderabad is among the many potboilers that CSK and MI have dished out over the years in the Indian Premier League (IPL). As the 2020 edition finally gets going in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, five months after it was originally scheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions, it will be the two most successful teams in the tournament’s history with seven titles between them which will once again lock horns.
Neither will there be any fans to build up the atmosphere nor is the tournament being played in India, but it shouldn’t be a deterrent for an exciting start.
Of late, MI have been CSK’s Achilles heel. It was no more evident than the 2019 season which saw CSK losing all four matches including the play-offs and the final. MI are the only team against which they have lost more matches than they have won.
This time around, MI will be without Malinga but their core is intact and as coach Mahela Jayawardene puts it they are “ready for action”. MI will again bank on Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik and Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard to take them over the line but they have added firepower too.
Chris Lynn has been brought in to add some strength to the top-order, if MI think-tank decides to push Rohit Sharma down the order to add stability to the middle-order. The bowling line-up has been spruced up with the addition of New Zealand’s left-arm quickie Trent Boult, Australia Nathan Counter-Nile, who is a good hitter too, Dhawal Kulkarni and James Pattinson (replacement for Malinga).
While MI have been on top of their preparations ever since they landed in UAE, same can’t be said about CSK. Their most experienced player and middle-order mainstay Suresh Raina and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh pulled out of the tournament, citing personal reasons.
Their preparations took a setback with frontline seamer Deepak Chahar and promising batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad testing positive. Now the question is whether the ‘Dad’s Army’--as they are referred to because of abundance of 30-plus players in their squad—will be a bit under prepared?
The pulling out of Raina, the second highest run scorer in IPL’s history, will be a big blow to their middle-order. With CSK not opting to bring in replacements, right now their only options to fill in for Raina at No 3 are either Rayudu or Jadhav. The other option is Jadhav’s Maharashtra teammate Gaikwad, who is yet to get green signal to resume practice.