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Table-toppers Chennai Super Kings – the first team to seal their berth in the Pepsi IPL 2013 Play-Offs – take on the Mumbai Indians in Match 49.
Mumbai Indians have won six of their ten matches this season and are placed fifth in the standings. The team has not managed to extend their winning streak to more than three matches. They had won three matches in a row prior to their shock defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad recently. Mumbai Indians are locked in a mid-table race with several other teams and need the two points in this match more than their opponents.
Chennai Super Kings meanwhile are on a roll. They have equaled the existing IPL record for the most consecutive wins having won their last seven matches and will look to carry the momentum through the rest of the season.
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 4 p.m
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Dwayne Smith are the three Mumbai Indians batsmen in form. Karthik seems to be making the most of getting the opportunity of batting at number three, while Sharma has been undeterred with the additional responsibility of captaining the team. Since replacing Ricky Ponting at the top of the order, Smith has provided his team quick runs; in five innings as opener, he has scored 191 runs (including two half-centuries) and has set the platform for a formidable middle order. Question marks remain over the participation of Kieron Pollard who injured his finger attempting a catch in the previous match. If the Trinidadian does not recover completely, Mumbai Indians could face the need to change their combination.
Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have won matches for the Chennai Super Kings single-handedly, while the likes of S Badrinath and Ravindra Jadeja have played their part whenever they have got the opportunity. With the ball too, CSK have several performers; Dwayne Bravo holds the Purple Cap, while Mohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Chris Morris have delivered wickets whenever they have been thrown the ball. Wriddhiman Saha is reported to be carrying a niggle and if he does not recover in time, Murali Vijay could be called upon to partner Hussey at the top.
No team has defeated the Chennai Super Kings more often than the Mumbai Indians. The two teams have met 12 times so far in the IPL with the Mumbai Indians emerging victors in seven of those matches.
When these two teams met at Chennai earlier this season, MI posted 148 on the board and then restricted the hosts to 139 to win by nine runs.
Chennai Super Kings have the best runs per wicket this season – 33.36.
MI hold a 100% record against CSK when playing at the Wankhede Stadium; the two teams have met thrice and the hosts have emerged victors in each of those three matches.
Mumbai Indians remain at home and prepare to host defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders next (May 7, 2013) and the Chennai Super Kings will head to Hyderabad to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 8.
With seven wins in a row, Chennai Super Kingsare turning out to be the biggest threat for all teams in IPL 2013. While they have already booked their berth in the top-four, the team is now determined to iron off the small creases in their game and maintain their lofty standards.
When they take on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, CSK have a great chance to test themselves in away conditions, against a strong opponent. Known for their invincibility at home, the Chennai-based team now aim to be “good travellers” according to Coach Stephen Fleming.
“I think it's great if there is home and away advantage and disadvantage. It really adds to the competition,” Fleming told reporters. “When you go away it's a tough game with a tough crowd and if you win, the conditions make that victory much better.
“We certainly have honoured ourselves when it comes to our home record. This year we have made a real effort to be good travellers and we have been doing it well. The majority of the Indian players in our side know this ground (Wankhede Stadium) pretty well but in terms of crowd support and parochialism towards your home team, it’s going to be different,” Fleming said.
The former New Zealand captain said he was pleased to see the crowds connect with their home teams with passion, as that can only be good for the tournament on the whole.
“I think it's fantastic that in a short space of time, you are getting passion and commitment towards a group of players. Games in Mumbai are quite special for our players and they enjoy coming here. Chennai and Mumbai, especially have a little bit of history already. They have had hard fought games and Mumbai has the better of us. So we are very determined to play well here,” Fleming said.
He expressed particular pleasure at the way his team has managed to string together a long winning streak this season.”It is a good run. It's a little bit different to the other campaigns we have been part of, where we have been a bit of stop and start.
“We have been very consistent this year. I won’t say that we’ve been dominant but we have been out of wood in games and that is just as important as being a form side playing well in every department. We still have got our challenges. Within the side, we know we need to get better. And in some ways that is driving us forward in search of that perfect performance. We are comfortable as a team but by no means are we complacent or satisfied with where we are at,” he said.
Ahead of the match, CSK have a minor injury issue with Wriddhiman Saha, who was included in the XI for the last two games for an injured and an out of form Murali Vijay. Fleming said the decision on who will open the innings with Michael Hussey against MI will be taken on the match day.
“Vijay hurt his finger and we thought it was broken at that time. He played for a game or so with lot of discomfort. We felt it was better for him to have a period of time out as he did need to give the finger a chance to rest. In the meantime, another good player in Saha took this opportunity. Saha was in good form and it is his place at the moment. But he is carrying a little bit of an injury, so whether Vijay comes back depends on Saha's fitness now,” Fleming said.
When talking of the pace bowling attack, Fleming was particular high on praise for young Mohit Sharma. “Mohit Sharma, with his attitude and demeanour, is a very nice guy, very calm guy and that fits in well with the way we operate. His performances, I won't say has exceeded but they are at a level where we are happy with what he has done. I think he is talented. He is a pretty good all-rounder as well; he just doesn't get the opportunity in the side. But his fielding and bowling to date have been really important to our success. He has been a good find.”