Chennai Super Kings (CSK) start as favourites vs Mumbai Indians © AFP
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) start as favourites vs Mumbai Indians © AFP

In match 27 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018, arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) lock horns at CSK’s adopted home ground; Pune. The two sides have had a rollercoaster ride so far in the current edition. While CSK have found a new match-winner to take them out of jail in every victory till date, MI have failed to live upto expectations. Defending champions have been a pale shadow of themselves, winning just one out of six encounters. CSK and MI started IPL 2018 with a bang; ensuring a last-over finish to the tournament-opener wherein the former prevailed. What will the script unearth this time around?

In CSK’s last encounter, versus Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), their bowlers were taken to the cleaners courtesy AB de Villiers show, and second fiddle played by Quinton de Kock. Due to Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo, CSK managed to keep RCB’s final score to 205 for 8. At one point, they were on course to get more. This eventually separated both teams eventually.

Riding on Ambati Rayudu’s 82 (53) and skipper MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 70, CSK had the last laugh. A well-timed chase from the master, Dhoni, and Rayudu’s form took Chennai on top of the points table. Their batting-heavy lineup and few street-smart bowlers have held their campaign so far. They are sure favourites against MI.

MI, on the other hand, haven’t been able to defend tall scores, and failed to chase down 119 in their own den versus Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their last tie. The team combination needs to be tweaked, and Rohit Sharma’s batting position should ideally undergo a shuffle too. Head coach, Mahela Jayawardene, stated that he may tinker (precisely, experiment) with the lineup going forward. This should be interesting. If any team possesses a good record versus CSK, and can turn the tides to qualify for the playoffs from precarious position, it is MI. Will their campaign get the much-needed lift from hereon?

Chennai Super Kings Likely XI

Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (wk & c), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir

Mumbai Indians Likely XI

Rohit Sharma (c), Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, JP Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande

Predictions

Dhoni and co. will ask for a batting pitch with a quality lineup at their disposal. The turf help the spinners as well. CSK’s batting prowess and ability to bounce back from any situation holds them way ahead of MI. However, MI have a 12-11 overall head-to-head record versus CSK.