The Indian Premier League (IPL), 2013 is now down to its final four. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Mumbai Indians face-off at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi for a place in the final. The winner of this first Qualifier goes directly to the final, whereas the other side gets a shot at redemption in the second qualifier.
Chennai are the team to beat at the IPL. They are undoubtedly the strongest unit in the tournament and have this knack of rising to every challenge. As usual, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has marshaled his troops very well. In these crunch situations, Chennai are a dangerous unit and Mumbai would be wary of them.
Michael Hussey has been in fantastic form this season and has given Chennai the impetus upfront. He adds calm to the top and can also take the attack to the opposition. He has been well supported by Suresh Raina at number three. The important thing is that Dhoni has been in magnificent form with the bat. He is a floater in the batting order and that gives Chennai more flexibility.
On the bowling front, Chennai have a complete attack with the right balance. Mohit Sharma has been the find of the season for them as he has picked up wickets and bowled economically. Chris Morris has also added dimension to the attack that comprises the wicket-taking Dwayne Bravo. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja complete the spin bowling duties. In a nutshell, one can say that they have a well-oiled machinery.
Coming to Mumbai, this star-studded line-up has played to potential this season, but have the final hurdle to cross. Their batting has reigned supreme with Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard in great touch. Sachin Tendulkar has contributed a few times and Mumbai would hope he is fit for this encounter.
Aditya Tare has been impressive in the opportunities he got and it would be interesting to see if he is persisted with. Even if Tendulkar comes back, Tare should hold on to his spot and they would open the batting. Glenn Maxwell may have to go down the order.
Mitchell Johnson has been Mumbai’s trump-card in the bowling. He has taken a lot of the pressure off Lasith Malinga and that has helped Mumbai reap rich rewards. Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha have done their bit with their spin and have built on the start given by the new-ball bowlers. Dhawal Kulkarni injured himself during the previous game, and it remains to be seen if he is ready for this clash.
In this tournament, Mumbai have beaten Chennai in both their encounters. In fact, even in previous editions, Mumbai have generally reigned supreme in the league stages. However, Chennai have invariably come back to beat them at the business end. That is an equation that would give Chennai tremendous confidence and Mumbai would want to change things.
Chennai Super Kings (probable): MS Dhoni (c & wk), Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Chris Morris, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Jason Holder.