Indian Premier League, 2018
Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings
The Big Picture
So, here we are! After weeks of anticipation, analysis, and euphoria, the Indian Premier League is finally here. The 2018 season with all the subtle additions like DRS, Mid-season Transfer, is expected to be bigger and better.
And what a way to start the tournament, with the perennial arch-rivals going head-to-head in the very first match. It will be the defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on the two-time champions Chennai Super Kings at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Seldom, there have rivalries that had captured the imagination of the cricketing fans around the world, the way MI V CSK has over the years.
The two teams have been involved in several heart-pumping encounters, the most memorable being the IPL final of 2010 when the genius of MS Dhoni's leadership was on full display, and the 2015 Finale where MI got their redemption over their perennial arch-rivals.
This year, the two powerhouse franchises will resume their rivalry in a bid to add another chapter to the realms of IPL history.
Where: Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
When: 07 April 2018, 8:00 PM
While the Wankhede pitch is expected to be flat, the dew factor plays an important part in Mumbai. This forces the captains to the ball first after winning the toss.
Teams batting first have won 51.4 percent of the games whereas teams batting second have won 48.6 percent of games in the last ten years in T20s.
Team Analysis and Preview
Chennai Super Kings
The Talisman skipper MS Dhoni returns to CSK after a hiatus of two years. He may not have captained a T20 side since 2016, but if his tactical and verbal skills as picked up by the stump pic during the recently concluded series against South Africa, the fact that Dhoni-The captain might be rusty doesn't seem to be the case though. Having won 83 matches in the IPL, the most by a captain in IPL history, rust or no rust, MS Dhoni remains the undisputed leader of CSK.
Apart from Dhoni, CSK has gone in with the tried and tested cricketers in Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ravinder Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo. If there will ever be an IPL Hall of Fame, Suresh Raina will be the first player to feature in the list. With 4540 runs at a strike-rate of 130.09, Raina has the cornerstone to CSK's success in the IPL over the years.
In Bravo, they have one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of T20 cricket. No bowler has picked up more wickets at the death than the West Indian, who has amassed 23 wickets, a wicket every seven balls. The strategy with which CSK went into the auctions, it is pretty clear that their predicted style of play will revolve around their spinners, having taken Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, and Karn Sharma in their ranks.
The absence of an experienced fast-bowler can prove to be the nemesis for CSK as we go deep into the tournament. While Shardul Thakur has shown glimpses of his variations and skills that he has at his disposal, it remains to be seen whether he can deliver in crunch situations. Apart from Shardul, CSK has overseas recruits in Mark Wood and Lungisani Ngidi, both of whom are inexperienced as well as injury prone.
Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mark Wood, Shardul Thakur
While the defending champions have managed to retain their core in Rohit Sharma, Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah and Kieron Pollard, they have added some exciting new talent to add variety to the attack. While JP Duminy and Benn Cutting adds depth to their all-rounders' camp, the inclusion of Evon Lewis, Ishan Kishan have added shenanigans to their famed batting line-up.
There are two chinks in the defending champion's armor which are hard to ignore. First of all is the lack of depth in their spin bowling stocks with Akila Dhananjaya as the only one to have an international experience. They do have Deepak Chahar, the leading bowler in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, it remains to be seen whether he can deliver on the big stage.
Secondly, it's pretty difficult to ignore MI's over-reliance on Jasprit Bumrah in the fast-bowling department. With him being the only experienced Indian fast-bowler in the team, Mumbai tried to compensate it with a rich vein of overseas fast bowlers in Cummins, Behendroff and Mustafizur Rahman. While they have already lost Behendroff due to injury and with Pat Cummins coming off a long International season, it remains to be seen whether they can last through the season.
Mumbai Indians probable XI: Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan(wk), Rohit Sharma(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Pat Cummins, Rahul Chahar, Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah.
Where to watch Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings?
The viewers can watch the match live on Star Sports 1/HD and can also live stream the match on Hotstar.com