Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings – it does not get bigger than this – as two of the most successful franchises in the history of the IPL lock horns with each other in the tournament opener in Abu Dhabi. What makes this game also interesting is that such big names will be playing in front of empty stands.

Both sides have had their fair share of difficulties after landing in the UAE, but CSK has had bigger problems. Yet, the MS Dhoni side may have their noses in front going into the high-octane clash. They have massive experience in their ranks and hence even after Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh have pulled out of the tournament, CSK still wears a look of a big team.

What works in favour of CSK?

Abundance of Experience

Sans Raina as well, they look solid at the to and have players who can on a given day bat anywhere in the Top 4. They have a Faf Du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and MS Dhoni and all of them have huge experience of the game and how to handle pressure situations.

Spin to Win

The pitches in UAE are going to assist the spinners, and without Harbhajan in their ranks as well, they have Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and Mitchell Santner – who on their day can win matches.

MS Dhoni – The biggest advantage

Having Dhoni on your side is an advantage even before the first ball is bowled. That is the impact a 39-year old Dhoni will still have. Not only can he finish games and score well at the backend, but he can also guide his troops from behind the stumps and win games from there.

The match starts at 7:30 PM IST and you can watch the live coverage on Star Sports Network and stream it on Hotstar.