After a shock defeat by KXI Punjab in their opening game, Punjab have roared back to form with back-to-back wins © IANS
By Shrikant Shankar
Apr 24, 2014
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) play Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on April 25. This is Match 13 of IPL 7 and will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Chennai have won two of their three matches and lost one. Mumbai are yet to register a win after two games. Momentum is clearly with Chennai, but Mumbai have a good enough squad to pull off a win. A victory for Mumbai is probably more important than it is for Chennai.
MS Dhoni’s team had begun with an agonising six-wicket loss against Kings XI Punjab in their opening match. But they came back like they usually do in the IPL. They walloped Delhi Daredevils in their second match by 93 runs. On April 23, Chennai managed to squeeze past Rajasthan Royals by a mere seven-run margin. After a comprehensive win and also a close one, the Chennai players would be feeling confident and would know how to win. They are the most successful team in IPL’s history and they have managed to find a formula for success in most seasons.
Dwayne Smith shone for Chennai with the bat at the top of the order with a breezy 50 off 28 deliveries. The West Indies batsman struck six fours and three sixes. But unfortunately for Chennai the middle-order did not give him much support. It was left to Ravindra Jadeja to salvage their innings with a knock of 36. The team managed 140 for six. While Chennai bowled well as a unit, it was again Jadeja who led them with the ball. He took four wickets as Chennai won a close match.
Ever since Dwayne Bravo has got injured, Chennai have got the balance of their team right. He was just unfortunate to injure his shoulder, but now Chennai have Ben Hilfenhaus in their bowling line-up. He brings that pace which was seriously lacking in that first match. Smith and Brendon McCullum are as good an opening pair as any in IPL 2014. Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis should come in after them. Dhoni, Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin complete the core of the Chennai team.
Ishwar Pandey has impressed with the ball in his two matches. Mohit Sharma has also done better in the last two matches. Mithun Manhas has also played the previous two matches, but there has been no significant contribution. But Chennai may not want to change a winning combination solely to make a change. They will be facing the second most successful team in IPL history on Friday. Mumbai have gotten off to a horrible start in IPL 7. The defending champions have been outplayed in both their matches so far. They lost by 41 runs in the IPL opener against Kolkata Knight Riders and then by seven wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mumbai have not clicked in any of their departments. Questions have already been asked about their unusual decisions during the IPL retention and auction. Michael Hussey and Aditya Tare have flopped at the top of the order. Ambati Rayudu is the only batsman to have got amongst the runs in both matches, but his strike-rate will not instill fear in any bowler. Rohit Sharma has also not done enough with the bat. Big hitters like Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson have also failed to impress.
Harbhajan Singh bowled well against Bangalore, but he is still wicket-less in this year’s IPL. Pragyan Ojha has actually been very expensive. Their strike bowlers Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga are the only two players who have been consistent so far. Mumbai may want to bring in some changes heading into their third match. It is no guarantee that they will win. But if Mumbai lose, they will be playing catch-up for the next few weeks. It is a tough situation they are in, but Mumbai need their star players to step up.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Francois du Plessis, Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Aaditya Tare (wk), Michael Hussey, Sushant Marathe, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Ben Dunk, Josh Hazlewood, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena, CM Gautam (wk), Krishmar Santokie, Marchant de Lange, Jasprit Bumrah, Apoorv Wankhede, Pawan Suyal.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)