Mumbai: Their IPL play-off hopes hanging by a thread, Chennai Super Kings will face their fiercest rivals, a down and out Mumbai Indians, in their bid to stay afloat in the competition here on Thursday.
This has been a season to forget for both Mumbai and CSK. While Mumbai will be playing for pride, CSK still have an outside chance to progress if they win their remaining games and other results go their way.
CSK will be eliminated if they lose to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
The M S Dhoni-led side would take confidence from their 91-run win over Delhi Capitals in their last outing and hope the batters build on their brilliant showing.
Opener Devon Conway is in sublime form and has hit three back-to-back half centuries. He tore apart the Delhi Capitals attack with his whirlwind 87 and would need to provide an aggressive start with fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who too has found form but can be more consistent.
The season got worse for Ravindra Jadeja who was left out for the last game against Delhi due to an injury after handing back the captaincy to Dhoni. It remains to be seen if he is back in action against Mumbai.
If CSK have to post a big score, like they did against DC, all batters will have to fire in unison.
Last time when the two sides met, a vintage Dhoni, ‘the best finisher’ sealed the game on the last ball of the game.
CSK bowlers were right on the money when they bundled DC for 117. Tweaker Moeen Ali picked three wickets, while young pacers Mukesh Choudhary and Simarjeet Singh also fared well.
The trio will need to once again deliver along with key spinner Maheesh Theekshana, whose four overs can also change the game’s fate. Another important cog is Bravo, who has the knack of breaking partnerships.
For Mumbai, all the remaining games are ‘dead rubbers’ and they would need to give a ‘complete performance’ with an improved batting show.
Skipper Rohit Sharma’ (200 runs) will need to lead from the front and Ishan Kishan (321 runs) can build on his half century in the last game. MI’s middle order batters, which crumbled against KKR, will also need to get the act right.
With Suryakumar Yadav ruled out, the likes of Tilak Varma, Tim David, Ramandeep Singh and Kieron Pollard, who has been a failure, will need to take greater responsibility. —PTI