A place in the VIVO IPL 2019 Final will be up for grabs when the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings clash in Qualifier 1.
The Mumbai Indians, who generally start slowly and play catch-up, have sailed into the playoffs smoothly this season; after registering nine wins in their 14 matches, they finished the league stage at the top of the table. The MI players must be full of confidence heading into this crucial stage in the competition; three of their last four wins have been by big margins, while the one other win was a thriller which MI clinched in the Super Over.
In the previous match, MI fielded a side which was close to their best side this season. However, they might have to tinker with that combination and will consider bringing in a third spinner to cater to the conditions they will most likely encounter in this match.
The Chennai Super Kings became the first team to book a playoff berth. However, the defending champions have lost a bit of momentum just recently; after winning seven of their first eight matches, the Super Kings have only managed two wins in six matches in the last three weeks. In their most-recent outing, the Super Kings lost to Kings XI Punjab in Mohali; there was a period in that match where it appeared that KXIP would chase down 171 in 14.2 overs, which would have pushed CSK out of the top two. However, the CSK bowlers tightened the strings to prevent that from happening, though they couldn’t prevent the 6-wicket loss.
The Super Kings have a few glaring deficiencies to address despite ending the league stage second in the table; their openers have posted only one 50-run partnership all season, and the lack of runs from the middle-order batsmen (excluding MS Dhoni) presents a huge concern. The injury to Kedar Jadhav has added to the team management’s woes; do they disturb the opening combination and bring in Murali Vijay to open the innings, while asking Shane Watson to bat down the order? Or will they give Dhruv Shorey to bat in the middle order?
7 May2019, 1930Hrs IST
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Previous Match XIs:
Mumbai Indians:Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, JaspritBumrah, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan.
Chennai Super Kings:Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar.
The spotlight will be on the two captains – Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni – not only for their leadership, but also for their batting. The MI skipper Rohit may not have been spectacular with the bat this season, but he has consistently been getting the runs, and comes into this match at the back of an unbeaten match-winning half-century. Rohit’s opposite number, MS Dhoni, is the Chennai Super Kings’ top run-getter this season; the CSK skipper has been finishing innings like the Dhoni of old, and has remained not out in 6 of his 9 innings this season.
Among others, there will be expectations that Suresh Raina can extend his streak of consecutive half-centuries to three and more; after a pretty modest first half of the season, the left-hander has now scored fluent half-centuries in his last two innings. Raina has a very good record in the knockout and playoff stages, and CSK will hope he can add to that impressive record.
Hardik Pandya has been spectacular with the bat this season; despite playing the role of finisher, he has consistently churned runs and destroyed bowling attacks. Hardik’s strike-rate – 197.35 – and the fact that he has scored nearly 45% of his 373 runs through sixes illustrates how destructive he has been this season.
Given that the conditions in Chennai have generally favoured the spinners, expect the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar to have a field day.
Head to Head in Indian Premier League
Overall: Matches – 26,Mumbai Indians – 15, Chennai Super Kings – 11.
Since 2015: Matches – 8, Mumbai Indians – 6, Chennai Super Kings – 2.
In knockouts / playoffs: Matches – 7, Mumbai Indians – 3, Chennai Super Kings – 4.
The Chennai Super Kings have a 3-1 win-loss record in Qualifier 1; the Mumbai Indians’ win-loss record in the first playoff match reads 1-2.
The Chennai Super Kings have taken a total of 52 wickets this season – the most among the eight teams, while the Mumbai Indians spinners together have picked up 22 wickets – the fewest among all the teams.
Since 2013, the Chennai Super Kings have lost only four matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai; three of those losses were to the Mumbai Indians.
The winner of this match will be seen in action next in the Grand Final, scheduled to be played in Hyderabad on May 12. The loser of this match will have a second chance to qualify for the final; they will take on the winner of the Eliminator in Qualifier 2, scheduled to be played in Visakhapatnam on May 10.