The two teams that kickstarted the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 proceedings on September 19 in Abu Dhabi will meet again after 40 matches as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) square off this time in Sharjah on Friday.
This will be MI's first game after their twin Super Overs-thriller against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). While the Rohit Sharma-led unit came second in that game, they have won six games out of nine and are in the top half of the points table.
CSK too are coming into this game on the back of a loss against Rajasthan Royals (RR). But unlike MI, they are currently on the eighth spot in the points table, having a win-loss ratio of 3-7.
As it stands, the Super Kings are placed at the bottom of the table - the sight that we have never ever seen in the history of the competition. From a total of ten matches played, the Super Kings have won three and lost seven. While their net run-rate is not that bad, it isn't going to matter unless they win all their remaining matches.
Their batting has undoubtedly been the cause of their condition and it wasn't any different in their previous match as well. Batting first on a decent surface, they lost too many wickets too early and CSK were never able to get on top of things after that. MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja played useful knocks, but those proved to be too little too late for the Super Kings to put a challenging total on the board.
CSK's batting has relied heavily on Faf du Plessis and even though Faf hasn't disappointed, CSK has struggled to put good numbers on the board. The main reason for that has been the lackluster finishes and slow starts. Sam Curran was promoted to resolve the issue of slow starts, but with two back to back failures, we expect CSK's managed to do away with this Sunil Narine-esque experiment.
Bowling, however, has done reasonably well for them. MS Dhoni has always had a good number of options available at his disposal and that has helped him to rotate the bowlers. Having said that, Imran Tahir sitting out in the dugouts is simply beyond the understanding of many. Tahir has done better than any leg-spinner in the past two years and was the purple cap holder in the last edition. With taking-wickets being the need of the hour for CSK, it has been rather surprising to keep Tahir out of the reckoning. Other than him, though, the likes of Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, and Piyush Chawla have done well, but Ravindra Jadeja still seems to be way off from his best.
All in all, CSK is still one of the better teams in the tournament, but only on paper. They have failed remarkably in execution and their position at the points table suggests that as well.
Mumbai Indians' dominance in the tournament can be highlighted by their net run-rate of 1.201, which is best amongst all teams in the tournament. They have won six and lost three from a total of nine games, with two of those three losses coming in super-over.
MI suffered a rare batting failure against Kings XI, but wouldn't really be worrying. Pollard played a blinder to take them to a towering total, which at one time appeared to be more like 160. Mumbai's depth in their batting was demonstrated pretty well and the runs from Nathan Coulter Nile will only add to their confidence. While Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan have struggled in the recent matches, Mumbai Indians would take heart from the form Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock, and Kieron Pollard have shown.
Just like the batting, Mumbai Indians have one of the most balanced bowling attacks as well. Bumrah, as he so often does, brought them back into the game single-handedly against Kings Xi and a lot will depend on him to keep things tight at the death. Apart from him, Trent Boult has been mighty impressive in the powerplay and has managed to pick up wickets more often than not. With Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar present to shoulder the load of the spin department, MI seem to have everything covered.
Mumbai Indians are perhaps the best-balanced team in the tournament and are sitting pretty in the top half of the tournament even without playing their best cricket. On paper, there aren't not many teams that match the potency and balance of this MI unit.
While MI will be out to consolidate their position in the top half, CSK will be eager to keep their hopes of making it to the playoffs alive and will be keen to secure their second win against MI in the ongoing season.
The weather in Sharjah will be slightly pleasant in the evening time. The maximum temperature will be 33 degrees while the night temperatures will be 22 degrees. Wind speed will be about 19 kmph and humidity will be around 37 per cent. There is no forecast of rain.
The pitch in Sharjah has been excellent to bat on but as the tournament has progressed, the wickets have tended to be sluggish and the ball has stopped on the batsmen. But Sharjah is hosting a match after a pretty long time and the surfaces that were being used so rapidly would be renewed a bit. Spinners will play a big role in curbing the scoring. The team batting first here would want to put at least 170 runs on the board
Considering the nature of the surface and the other conditions, the captain winning the toss should elect to field first in this upcoming match.
Stats and Facts
Head to head: Matches Played: 29
Mumbai Indians: 17
Chennai Super Kings: 12
MS Dhoni requires 6 catches to complete 100 IPL catches for CSK.
Dhoni needs one six to reach 200 sixes as captain in the IPL.
Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis need 2 and 1 fours respectively to complete 300 and 200 IPL fours.
Jasprit Bumrah needs three wickets to reach 100 wickets in the IPL and 200 in all T20s.
Kieron Pollard needs 37 runs to complete 3000 IPL runs.
Krunal Pandya needs 27 runs to reach 1000 IPL runs.
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, N Jagadeesan/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (capt and wk), Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak
Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma/KM Asif, Josh Hazlewood/Imran Tahir
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (capt)/Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan/Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal
Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile/Dhawal Kulkarni, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Players to Watch Out For:
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah
Mumbai Indians: 1.61
Chennai Super Kings: 2.30
SantaBanta's Winner Prediction: Mumbai Indians
IPL 2020 Winner Live Odds
Mumbai Indians - 3
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 3.5
Delhi Capitals - 4
Kings XI Punjab - 12
Kolkata Knight Riders - 13
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 17
Rajasthan Royals - 19
Chennai Super Kings - 51
Match Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Time: 7.30 PM IST
TV: Star Sports Network
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP