The caravan of the Indian Premier League rolls on and it’s once again time for the ‘El Clasico’ of cricket- Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians– to take center stage at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.
It seems like an eternity when these two sides’ last locked horns in this years’ IPL. It was the opening game of the season where the Chennai Super Kings pulled one over their perennial nemesis thanks to a brilliant knock by Ambati Rayudu.
But since then a lot of water has flown under the bridge and both sides have literally taken completely different paths. Post that defeat, the Mumbai Indians have embarked on a bandwagon that has seen them win six of their nine fixtures- five of which came in a row- to consolidate their position in the upper half of the points table.
The two games that Mumbai Indians have lost post their defeat to CSK in the season opener have come in Super Overs, the last of which came in their previous fixture against Kings XI Punjab.
The defending champions suffered an injury blow in that game when Ishan Kishan pulled his hamstring while fielding. Kishan is likely to be unavailable for Friday’s fixture against CSK, which might open the doors for Chris Lynn to make his debut for the franchise, with Dhawal Kulkarni replacing the Indian wicketkeeper considering that MI might look to rest Trent Boult.
It has all been downhill for Chennai Super Kings since that win against Mumbai Indians
As far as the Chennai Super Kings is concerned, it has all gone downhill after that brilliant win in the opening game against MI. Since then, CSK has managed just two wins in nine games and the MS Dhoni-led outfit is the only franchise in the competition thus far to lose seven fixtures.
More than the defeats, it is the manner in which CSK have batted this season that has been the most disappointing thing. The batsmen, barring a select few occasions, have shown very little intent, and the fact that the management has still backed underperformers like Kedar Jadhav rather than giving opportunities to youngsters has been very baffling.
Head coach Stephen Fleming admitted after the seven-wicket hammering by Rajasthan Royals that the ‘side may have run out of juice’, indicating that we might see youngsters like Jagadeeshan, Ruturaj Gaikwad getting more chances in the remaining games. But, will it happen? Especially after MS Dhoni’s comment that ‘the management did not see any spark in the youngsters to push the senior guys’? We’ll have to wait and see.
Of-course, CSK can mathematically still qualify for the playoffs. But for that to happen, they not only have to win all their games but they will also have to hope for a lot of other sides’ results to go their way.
IPL 2020: Match 41: Chennai Super Kings Vs Mumbai Indians: Match Prediction
Mumbai Indians may have lost their previous fixture against the Chennai Super Kings but that aside, the defending champions have had a lid over the MS Dhoni-led outfit in the recent past. And, considering the form that CSK is in currently, backing MI to make it 1-1 for this season on Friday.