After staging convincing performances in the group stages,Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will look to get one step closer to the IPL 2013 title when they lock horns in New Delhi today.
Both Chennai and Mumbai are comparatively in a better position than the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals. After finishing on the first and second position in the points table,they have two shots to make it to the finals.
Even if one of them ends on the losing side today,they still have another go for the final spot. The losing team will face the winner of the match between Rajasthan and Hyderabad. So all is not lost for the losing team. But,hopes of winning the title will be pinned on the one emerging victorious today.
If we take the previous edition of the Indian Premier League into account,Kolkata Knight Riders won the first qualifier against Delhi Daredevils,and went on to win the IPL 2012. Hence,it is THE CLASH of the season.
Mumbai hold slight edge
On paper,Mumbai have a very balanced and varied bowling attack. It is a fine blend of quality seamers upfront,and crafty slow bowlers for the middle overs. Mitchell Johnson,in particular,has been on the money with the new ball,and is ably assisted by the toe-crushing Lasith Malinga. The bowling unit is well sorted,but they will have to fine tune their death overs.
Playing against a side like Chennai,a late assault is always on the cards. This is where the bowlers will have to pull up their soaks,and not allow the likes of MS Dhoni and Ravinder Jadeja cut loose towards the end.
Tare or Tendulkar?
Sachin Tendulkar missed Mumbai’s previous two fixtures due to an injury,and his replacement Aditya Tare has not given a reason to miss the services of the little master. Tare has been brilliant with the bat,and a fifty in only matches echoes the same. The 25-year old went all guns blazing in the fixture against the Rajasthan Royals,and scored an attacking fifty. With Tare contributing well,Mumbai are in a catch. Will the Rohit Sharma-led unit field Tendulkar,if he is fit,or continue with the same combination? Or will they open with Sachin and Tare? The latter sounds better.
No matter how they played in the fixtures before the knock-out stages,Chennai are the side to beat this year. The team boasts a squad with quality match-winners,who have the ability to change the complexion of the game in no time. Michael Hussey on top,Suresh Raina in the middle,and MS Dhoni towards the end,cover all bases with the bat.
If we look at the bowlers,Mohit Sharma with the new ball,R Ashwin and Jadeja with their variety,and Dwayne Bravo with his skill towards the end,makes the bowling department sorted too. And,not to forget the quality of fielding they exhibit in the middle.
The last time Mumbai visited Delhi,the unit was comprehensively beaten by Delhi. It was a complete Virender Sehwag show as the visitors were on the leather hunt throughout the fixture. The Delhi dasher scored an attacking 57-ball 95, and dispatched the bowlers to all parts of the park.