Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 24 April 2014 - 11:35pm IST
Preview: Match 13 – CSK v MI
Heavy weights with distinct fortunes lock horns
The two traditional heavyweights of the IPL – Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians – go head to head in Match 13 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
The Chennai Super Kings – as is their habit – are gleefully perched in the top half of the table. They were blown away by Kings XI Punjab in their season opener, but came back strongly to outclass Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals. The batting caved in meekly in the previous match against RR, but after useful runs from the lower helped them to a respectable total, the bowlers stepped up to restrict the opposition to 133.
Mumbai Indians are the defending champions, but they have had a disastrous start to the season, losing both their matches. Kolkata Knight Riders whipped them by 41 runs in the inaugural match of the season, after which RCB handed them a seven-wicket defeat. MI have managed a total of 237 runs in 40 overs so far, losing 16 wickets in the process. In contrast, they have only managed to pick up eight wickets while conceding 279 runs in 37.3 overs. MI, coming back to the league after a five-day break, will realise that there is an urgent need to get their act together quickly.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8 pm IST
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
No player has top-scored for the Chennai Super Kings more often than Suresh Raina. The southpaw has all the elements needed to succeed in this format; he has all the shots in the book, has the power in his arms, has the gift of timing, isn’t afraid to take the aerial route and has the ability to play either the conservative game or shift gears and get stuck into the bowling. Simply put, Raina is the glue that holds the CSK batting line-up and gives freedom to Smith, McCullum and Dhoni to play their shots from the word go.
Mumbai Indians’ answer to Suresh Raina is Michael Hussey. Mr. Cricket can match all the qualities that Raina possesses and top them, and he also has the shots in the book to counter hostile short-pitched bowling. Just how good a player is he? 21 of his 24 innings of 30 or more have resulted in wins. He has stroke-players, like Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson who are capable of pulling out the big hits on a consistent basis, for company.
Notes from Previous Match
Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals: “When you’re on top, stay there”. CSK coach Stephen Fleming will have hopefully reminded his wards of these words. CSK well and truly had RR by the scruff of the neck when they were at 59 for one in 7.1 overs. But when Dwayne Smith was dismissed – after a 27-ball 50 – CSK let slip the advantage in spectacular fashion, losing wickets in a heap and adding a further 81 runs during the rest of the innings.
Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore: The top three players in the MI line-up – Michael Hussey, Aditya Tare and Ambati Rayudu – got starts, but the highest among them was 35. In a format where momentum is important, it is crucial that a player, who gets a start, converts it into a big score. There will also be a word or two whispered into Pragyan Ojha’s ears; the left-arm spinner has been guilty of bowling short. Almost a third of the deliveries he has bowled in Pepsi IPL 2014 have been short and have given batsmen the time to pick their spots.
The Mumbai Indians have a 9-6 win-loss record against the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Last season, the two teams met on four occasions – twice in the regular league season and twice in the Playoffs, and MI emerged victorious in three of those matches, including the Final.
In meetings between the two teams during the regular season, MI have an incredible 8-3 win-loss record over CSK. In the knockouts/Playoffs, CSK have a grip over MI, having won 3 of the 4 matches.
2014 is only the second time that the Mumbai Indians have dropped the first two matches of the season. The only other occasion was the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008. On that occasion, they lost their first four matches before turning it around spectacularly – winning the next six on the trot.
21 – The number of times Suresh Raina has been the top-scorer for Chennai Super Kings. No other player has topped the batting cards more often for the Men in Yellow.
Overall aggregate of Michael Hussey’s innings when he has scored 30 or more: 24 innings, 1458 runs, 81.00 Average, 1 century, 12 fifties, 138.99 strike-rate.
The Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians head to Sharjah for their next fixtures on April 27. MI will take the field first when they clash with the Delhi Daredevils in the afternoon match, while CSK clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the evening tie.