Mumbai, Chennai on war path for IPL final berth
Mumbai: With an eye on the much-awaited final, heavyweights Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) face-off in a high-voltage clash in the first qualifier of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here tomorrow.
A win for either team on Tuesday will ensure a place in the tournament’s final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 24, whereas the losing side will get a second chance to prove it’s worth. It will face, in the second qualifier in Ranchi on May 22, the winner of the eliminator to be played on May 20 between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The two teams met twice earlier in the season where both teams won one mach each. On April 17 in Mumbai, CSK won the match by six wickets. Chennai posted 189/4 in 16.4 overs in reply to Mumbai’s 183.
In the return leg on May 8 in Chennai, Mumbai won by six wickets. The home side posted 158 after opting to bat. Mumbai chased this down with four balls remaining.
On Tuesday, the 2010 and 2011 champions CSK will have to come up with a new opening combination as hard-hitting New Zealander Brendon McCullum departed to join his national squad to play in Test series against England starting May 21.
The Kiwis scored 436 runs from 14 games and will be sorely missed. But veteran batsman Michael Hussey, who opened with McCullum against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Saturday, is likely to replace the New Zealander. West Indian batsman Dwayne Smith will be back into the squad to open with the bat.
Apart from the opening duo, in-form batsmen Faf du Plessis (313 runs from 14 games), Suresh Raina (321 runs from 14 games) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (328 runs from 14 games) make the CSK batting line-up formidable.
Their bowling will primarily rely on leading wicket-taker Dwayne Bravo (20 wickets from 14 games) and fifth placed Ashish Nehra (18 wickets from 13 games) followed by spinners Ravichandra Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Ravindra Jadeja.
On the other hand, Mumbai will be high on confidence coming into Tuesday’s match after their thumping nine-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
Pacers Mitchell McClenaghan (3-16), Lasith Malinga (2-17) and spinner Jagadeesha Suchith (2-14) starred with the ball to bundle Hyderabad for 113.
Chasing a small target, in-form openers Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel got off to flying start with a 100-run opening stand, thus chasing the target in 13.5 overs and steer team to IPL play-offs.
The 2013 IPL champions will enjoy a lot of advantages at home and will look to make the best out of it. Malinga and McClenaghan (sharing 33 wickets among themselves) will aim to deliver once again and dethrone the rock solid CSK batting line up.
Mumbai have a heavy middle order as Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya have earned their reputations of being clean strikers of the ball and are also effective while chasing a target.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Colin Munro, Aditya Tare, Jasprit Bumrah, Marchant de Lange, Pawan Suyal, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Pragyan Ojha, Mitchell McClenaghan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Aiden Blizzard, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchith, Unmukt Chand, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Ben Hilfenhaus, Alex Hales.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ashish Nehra, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Francois du Plessis, Ishwar Pandey, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Mohit Sharma, Pawan Negi, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Samuel Badree, Suresh Raina, Ronit More, Michael Hussey, Baba Aparajith, Rahul Sharma, Kyle Abbott, Ankush Bains, Irfan Pathan, Pratyush Singh, Andrew Tye and Eklavya Dwivedi.