It will be an exciting contest between bat and ball when the red-hot MI take on a very steady, led by captain cool MS Dhoni, CSK on Tuesday.
Mumbai Indians, once again, are the story of an IPL season. They won just one match out of their first five but have managed to make it to the play-offs. Not only that, they finished second in the points table.
Chennai Super Kings on the other hand were in their dominating mode right from the start. They sealed the play-offs spot before any other team and then finished top of the table with a one-sided win over Kings XI Punjab. Business as usual for the MS Dhoni-led unit.
Both teams have two chances to qualify for the final. But when the two meet at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, they will look to seal the spot on first attempt.
Here’s a look at how the teams have fared in the eighth edition so far
There is no doubt that they will miss Brendon McCullum. He has accumulated 436 runs this season – the most for CSK. Dwayne Smith and his new opening partner, Michael Hussey, may not find it difficult to get along but McCullum’s presence would have had a different impact on the opposition. Their batting has been an on and off affair and during a crunch match like Tuesday’s, they would look for a perfect combination. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have done a fair job and scored over 300 runs this season. The real worry is there lower order. If Dwayne Bravo could find his lost touch with the bat and Ravindra Jadeja can chip in with some lusty blows towards the end, then their is no stopping the Super Kings.
CSK have two bowlers in the top-five and Bravo is the Purple Cap holder. There seems no problem with the bowling unit. Ashish Nehra has been the captain’s go to man. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been on the money except for a couple of matches. The most promising aspect has been Ishwar Pandey. He has picked 11 wickets in the 10 matches he has played and it must be noted that those wickets have come in the powerplay overs.
CSK’s fielding is phenomenal. Their fielders have taken catches that can be the top in all IPL seasons.
If you take a look at the statistics, all teams have got good starts barring KXIP and MI. KXIP failed in this season but MI did a turnaround. Their highest run-getter has been Rohit Sharma (413) with Lendl Simmons (407) behind him. Except these two, MI batsmen have failed to catch the opportunity and Kieron Pollard is a distant third with 342 runs.
MI need to get their act together in batting. CSK bowlers are in top-form and they will not give MI batsmen any chance. The only advantage MI have is of a home ground. Wankhede is a batting friendly pitch and Rohit & Co. may just like that fact.
The inclusion of Mitchell McClenaghan has boosted the MI bowling unit and with Lasith Malinga, they may have found their best opening bowling pair. Malinga is the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament and McClenaghan is in red-hot form. The advantage they have over CSK is in the spin department. Harbhajan Singh is an experienced campaigner and will look to step up to the big occasion. CSK’s batting mindset has always been attacking and with MI having attacking bowlers, it will be a contest that may well decide the outcome of the match.
MI have had a terrific tournament after their first five games and they have a chance to win their second IPL title. No matter how they reached the qualifier, MI’s real test will be against CSK on Tuesday. KKR did the unthinkable last season winning eight matches on the trot after a horrible start to the season and went on to become the champions. Can MI repeat what KKR did is still to be seen.