IPL 2019 Match Preview: Q1 – MI VS CSK: The Mumbai Indians, who generally start slowly and play catch-up, have sailed into the playoffs smoothly this season; after registering nine wins in their 14 matches, they finished the league stage at the top of the table.
The MI players must be full of confidence heading into this crucial stage in the competition; three of their last four wins have been by big margins, while the one other win was a thriller which MI clinched in the Super Over.
In the previous match, MI fielded a side which was close to their best side this season. However, they might have to tinker with that combination and will consider bringing in a third spinner to cater to the conditions they will most likely encounter in this match.
The Chennai Super Kings became the first team to book a playoff berth. However, the defending champions have lost a bit of momentum just recently; after winning seven of their first eight matches, the Super Kings have only managed two wins in six matches in the last three weeks.
In their most-recent outing, the Super Kings lost to Kings XI Punjab in Mohali; there was a period in that match where it appeared that KXIP would chase down 171 in 14.2 overs, which would have pushed CSK out of the top two. However, the CSK bowlers tightened the strings to prevent that from happening, though they couldn’t prevent the 6-wicket loss.
The Super Kings have a few glaring deficiencies to address despite ending the league stage second in the table; their openers have posted only one 50-run partnership all season, and the lack of runs from the middle-order batsmen (excluding MS Dhoni) presents a huge concern.
The injury to Kedar Jadhav has added to the team management’s woes; do they disturb the opening combination and bring in Murali Vijay to open the innings, while asking Shane Watson to bat down the order? Or will they give Dhruv Shorey to bat in the middle order?
When: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Qualifier 1, May 7 2019, 7:30 PM IST
Where: M A Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
What to expect: The usual – temperatures soaring past 35 degrees celsius late evening and a pitch playing to perfection for spinners.
Chennai Super Kings
A shoulder injury in Sunday’s game against KXIP ended Kedar Jadhav’s IPL 2019, and opened up a middle-order vacancy, expected to be filled by Dhruv Shorey. Shorey has filled in for the regulars this season, but predominantly as a substitute fielder. Incidentally, the one fixture he played in, was against Mumbai Indians at Chepauk, as a replacement for an unwell MS Dhoni. With Jadhav not being used as a bowling option all season, CSK can turn to a specialist batsman in Shorey to plug the gap.
CSK might also have a Mitchell Santner dilemma. The New Zealand spinner was one of the few positives from the league stage game against MI at this venue, picking up 2 wickets for 13 runs in his four overs. But deciding on who could make way for Santner will be tricky.
Shane Watson has had three single-digit outings since his 96 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, but replacing him when the team itself is in the midst of ordinary batting performances will be quite a gamble. If they go through with it, they will have to rely on Ambati Rayudu to wiggle his way out of a rut, while also taking up the responsibility of opening the batting.
Probable XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dhruv Shorey, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir
Mitchell McClenaghan impressed at the Wankhede Stadium in his comeback game, but as the action shifts to a sticky, slow Chepauk strip, the New Zealander might have to make way for a spin option – like leggie Mayank Markande (if fit) or left-arm spinner Anukul Roy.
Such a swap would also give Mumbai Indians the luxury to play an additional overseas player – which means they can pick between Ishan Kishan and Evin Lewis to bat at the troubled No.4 position. There’s been very little to choose between the two, as neither has managed to make use of the few chances afforded to them.
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan/Evin Lewis, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell McClenaghan/Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Did you know:
– CSK’s last win over MI at Chepauk came in 2010
– MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina average 51 and 61.50 against MI in seven knockout games. Conversely, Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma struggle in the same fixtures- with an average of 36.33 and 16.43 respectively.
-CSK spinners have been devastating at home – picking 30 wickets in 79.2 overs at an average of 15.60, while conceding only at 5.90 runs-an-over.
What they said:
“It is something we know about the IPL that the business end matters, we always come back well in the second half of this tournament. In all the three trophies that we’ve won, the boys have picked themselves up in the business end.” – Rohit Sharma said after a comprehensive win over KKR took MI to top of the table.
“Quite happy with the way we bowled, despite giving a few runs at the start. That’s something you have to keep in mind, if you can’t win a game, you make sure you get the opposition to get the runs in most number of overs. You have to quickly adapt, learn and reassess.” – MS Dhoni said after his team’s defeat to KXIP on Sunday.