Mumbai Indians will be looking to end Chennai Super Kings hopes of qualifying for playoffs when the two sides meet in Sharjah on Friday.
The race for the fourth position is getting exciting, but one team looks down and out at the moment is Chennai Super Kings (CSK). They can still mathematically make it for playoffs, provided they win all their four games and pray for other favourable results. Mumbai Indians (MI) will be looking to kill CSK’s hopes on October 23 when the two sides meet in Sharjah.
MI suffered a defeat against Kings XI Punjab in their last game. Rohit Sharma’s men had to swallow a bitter pill in this game since the defeat came in the second over. They had the chance to wrap up the game in the first super over since KXIP managed only five runs. MI will be looking to bounce back quickly as a place in the playoffs looks certain, but the target should be finishing in the top two.
CSK’s achilles heel this season has been batting. They have struggled to score runs at a better rate throughout the tournament. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis have been CSK’s strongest performers in the batting unit despite being inconsistent in the last four games. Ravindra Jadeja has come up with handy contributions down the order. Apart from these three batsmen, there have been hardly any positives about Chennai’s batting unit.
On the other hand, MI has a settled batting unit. Every batsman has made handy contributions throughout the tournament. Quinton de Kock is in superb form, scoring back to back half-centuries in the last two games. Although Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan have been quiet in the last few games, it just looks like a matter of time before they click. The lower middle order is also in good hitting form as they provide a strong finish to the innings.
The pace bowling unit of CSK has done fairly well this season. Same cannot be said about spin bowlers. Deepak Chahar has been taking wickets in the powerplay, while Shardul Thakur has been delivering in middle overs. However, the spin bowlers break the momentum by leaking runs and shifting the momentum in the opposition’s favour.
Similar to the batting lineup, MI also has a very sound bowling unit. Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah have been amongst wickets throughout the tournament, while Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya bowl economic spells to suffocate the opponent in middle overs. It remains to be seen whether MI will bring back James Pattinson in the lineup after resting him in the last two games.
MI can go top of the table by winning against CSK, courtesy of a very healthy net run rate. The Mumbai based team suffered defeat when these two sides met in the first game of the tournament, so MI has the incentive to get one over CSK and extinguish their minimal chances of qualifying for playoffs.
By Kiran Thakare