IPL 2013: Mumbai Indians gunning for playoffs berth in clash against Chennai Super Kings

Mumbai Indians (above) will take some confidence from the fact that they have already beaten Chennai Super Kings this season, and that too in the two-time champions’ own den at the MA Chidambaram Stadium © IANS

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Mumbai: May 4, 2013
 
Having lost their last match to the Sunrisers Hyderabad following three successive wins, the Mumbai Indians will be aiming to get back on track when they host the table-toppers Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on May 5.
 
Mumbai need three more wins out of their six remaining games to get to the magic number nine to seal a playoff berth, while their opponents have already made it there. Mumbai sure have their task cut out against CSK, who are on a remarkable seven-match winning streak coming into this fixture. MS Dhoni’s men look the most complete team this season, like always, and their cohesive nature is what has made them so successful, with each of the eleven players pitching in.
 
Mumbai, on the other hand, have been sporadic in form. Twice this season have they won three games on the trot, only to surrender with their tails between the legs later. Their recent loss to the Sunrisers was surprising, given they could manage only 129 runs in 20 overs after losing just four wickets. Whereas in the two games prior to that, they had recorded scores above 170 and won comfortably.
 
Mumbai will take some confidence from the fact that they have already beaten the Super Kings this season, and that too in the two-time champions’ own den at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Rohit Sharma’s men will have the comfort and advantage of playing at home this time around and the skipper has already sounded the war cry, asking his men to make the Wankhede their fortress.
 
Consistency will be what Mumbai will look to achieve in their remaining games this season. Being heavyweights ever since Season 1 of the IPL and not having won even a single title does not speak well of a side comprising superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga. Mumbai have added names like Ricky Ponting and paid a cool USD 1 million for Glenn Maxwell this season, the results of which are there to be seen.
 
Both teams are likely to field an unchanged eleven, although thoughts of dropping Tendulkar (171 runs in 10 matches) would have crossed the team management by now. The Little Master is not playing badly if you look at some of his shots in the starts he gets, but the 40-year-old is just unable to convert them into big ones on a regular basis.
 
Chennai, on the other hand, seem to have found the winning combination and are coasting along to victories one by one. Probably the only chink in their robust armour would be in Michael Hussey’s opening partner; CSK have tried out Murali Vijay, Srikkanth Anirudha and, more recently, Wriddhiman Saha so far. While the two Chennai boys have failed miserably, Saha has shown signs of promise with scores of 39, 13 and 18, but will need to stick around a little longer to make the spot his.
 
The Mumbai Indians hold the edge over their opponents in the head-to-head battle with eight wins over six. They will have to come out all guns blazing if they want to make it nine on Sunday evening.
 
Teams:
 
Mumbai Indians (Probable): Dwayne Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pragyan Ojha.
 
Chennai Super Kings (Probable): Michael Hussey, Wriddhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma.
 
Time: 16.00 IST | 10.30 GMT

(Jaideep Vaidya is a multiple sports buff and a writer at CricketCountry. He has a B.E. in Electronics Engineering, but that isn’t fooling anybody. He started writing on sports during his engineering course and fell in love with it. The best day of his life came on April 24, 1998, when he witnessed birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar pummel a Shane Warne-speared Aussie attack from the stands during the Sharjah Cup Final. A diehard Manchester United fan, you can follow him on Twitter @jaideepvaidya. He also writes a sports blog – The Mullygrubber )