Clashes between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians have always received top billing in the IPL. This time around the two teams will face off under a political and diplomatic cloud with Sri Lankan players being barred from playing in Chennai. Both franchises though possess power-packed line-ups capable enough of shifting the focus towards the action in the centre.
LIKE him or hate him,but cant ignore Suresh Raina when it comes to the IPL. Once he suits up and puts on his canary yellow Super Kings jersey,he seems to acquire superhero powers,clouting bowlers spinners and fast bowlers alike over the mid-wicket fence. As always,the aggressive left-hander,the highest run-getter in the IPL with 2254 runs and second-most prolific six-hitter with 97,will be Chennais impact player,batting at No.3. Mumbai Indians might not have been his favoured opposition till date. But he comes into the tournament in good nick and could set the record straight at Chepauk on Saturday.
Hardly a dozen balls had been bowled in Mumbais innings when the IPL broadcasters flashed a rather burlesque flash poll question. Are Ponting and Tendulkar the best opening partnership in the IPL? The men in charge of the poll could be pardoned for getting carried away with the epic combination of Tendulkar and Ponting. But its safe to say that Mumbai will encounter the most formidable opening combo in IPL history when Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey,who will be available for the entire IPL season for the first time,walk out to bat. The left-right Indo-Australian pairing have racked up over half-a-dozen half-century stands and one over 100 in the IPL,each with devastating effect on the opposition morale.
SPIN THE BATTLE
HARBHAJAN Singh and Pragyan Ojha,who is likely to play on the spin-friendly Chepauk wicket,will have an added incentive to make a mark on Saturday. Its a battle for pride after all,considering theyll be up against R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja,the spin twins who have forced the Mumbai Indians duo down the pecking order as far as Indias spin choices in Test cricket are concerned.