Mumbai Indians, who are on a four-match winning streak, will take on table toppers Chennai Super Kings in a high-voltage clash of the Indian Premier League season 8. Over the years, Chennai and Mumbai contests have produced some exciting cricket and, considering the form of the two sides, there is no reason why another close tussle shouldn't be on the cards. As mentioned above, Mumbai go into the match having won their last four games, their most recent success coming against Delhi Daredevils. Chennai, on the other hand, have been among the most consistent sides in the league as always. For sure, Mumbai will have their task cut, playing away from home.
Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, 43rd T20 at Chennai
Time: Match Start at 8 PM IST | 14:30 GMT
Toss: Chennai Super Kings, who chose to bat first
Mumbai began IPL 8 in terrible fashion, losing their first four matches, but since have bounced back extremely well, and are reasonably placed with 10 points from 10 matches. The change in arsenal has definitely made a difference to Mumbai's fortunes. Lendl Simmons' consistency at the top of the order has given them a much-needed boost, and Parthiv Patel is also getting into the act. Kieron Pollard has played a couple of swashbuckling knocks down the order. And, even though skipper Rohit Sharma hasn't been hugely successful, he remains a dangerous customer. Mumbai should also be pleased with the return to form of Ambati Rayudu.
Mumbai's bowling too has improved significantly since the earlier matches. While Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh remain their key bowlers, the others are beginning to chip in. The introduction of Mitchell McClenaghan has made a definite difference to the side as he has delivered desirable results. However, what has stood out in Mumbai's bowling performance has been the manner in which Malinga and Harbhajan have constantly stood up for the team and delivered. They looked rusty early, but have been on top of their game in the last few matches.
It is not difficult to figure out why Chennai keep delivering impressive performances year after year. They have one of the most settled and balanced outfits in the league, and but for a couple of matches, have been in cruise control mode. In Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum they have a perfect dynamic opening combination at the top of the order. They have mostly taken turns to excel, and on occasions when both have flourished together, the opposition has been made to look mediocre. Chennai's strength in the batting department continues with Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni and of course the all-round brilliance of Dwayne Bravo, who is a match-winner with both bat and ball.
Speaking of Chennai's bowling, they are strong in that department as well. Ashish Nehra has led the way, picking up wickets at will while proving very miserly as well. In fact, rather unexpectedly, the former India left-armer has given Chennai an edge in the bowling with his wily spells. Nehra has been well supported by Mohit Sharma, who has carried on his World Cup form. Pawan Negi has done reasonably well too. And, just as question marks were being raised over Ravindra Jadeja, he started getting among the wickets. Chennai would like to believe they have the edge.
--By A Cricket Analyst