PREVIEW

Defending Champions Mumbai Indians are taking on the 2019 runners-up, Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of IPL 2020 on Saturday, September 19th at Abu-Dhabi, UAE.

So, it is that time of the year, a bit unusual but the 13th edition of Indian Premier League is all set to commence from 19th of September in Abu Dhabi between the two most successful teams in the tournament’s history. The Mumbai based team is the only IPL team to have a good head to head record against the Dhoni led side in the tournament history. They have won 18 times in comparison to CSK’s 12 times against them with MI winning eight of the last nine matches. However, they have been guilty of starting slow in the tournament and have never won their first game since 2012. They are however expected to break the streak this time given their outstanding performances against CSK in the recent past. They are looking like the most balanced side while entering the tournament and are expected to get off the mark.

On the other side, the Super Kings are the most successful franchise in terms of winning percentage in the history of the tournament. CSK went through a lot of barriers after landing in UAE and are now all set to start the tournament in the opening game against MI. They will be traveling to Abu-Dhabi and will be playing without having any idea about the conditions there as CSK coach, Fleming quoted.

Without Harbhajan and Suresh Raina, CSK have to overcome a lot of hiccups but it is also a fact that CSK can go as long as their captain MS Dhoni is there, who can take any team towards success from any situation in the tournament.

PROBABLE XI

Mumbai Indians:
Quinton de Kock (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult.

Chennai Super Kings:
Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C)(WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, DJ Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir.

FANTASY TIPS ( Key Players )

Deepak Chahar has 25 wickets in the Powerplay overs since 2018, which is also the highest by any bowler. He troubles Rohit Sharma a lot, got him out twice in the PP and Rohit has a SR of 120 against him. It will be a fresh wicket under the lights which might possess help for someone like Deepak Chahar who is so good with the new ball.

Keiron Pollard is coming off an outstanding CPL season with the bat. He was hitting the ball at a SR of 204 and averaged 51 in the tournament. He always performs well in big matches and against someone like CSK, he has a SR of 165.13 with 502 runs ( including CLT20), also the second highest run-scorer against them from his team.

Hardik Pandya had an excellent season last year where he scored over 400 runs at a SR of 191.42 and looked good in the nets. He is a key player to watch for in the whole tournament for MI. He was also the man of the match against CSK in their first meeting last season.

Surya Kumar Yadav has been a consistent performer for his team and has done well whenever needed. He is the highest run-scorer in this fixture since 2018. He was also the man of the match in the Qualifier match against CSK last year.

Imran Tahir was the leading wicket taker in the last season (26) and has 7 wickets in this fixture. He is coming into the tournament after a successful CPL season individually so a sure starter in the XI as well.

Shane Watson scored 80 runs in the final against MI last year and is a very dangerous batsman after getting set. He has a SR over 192 after the first 5 overs of batting in PP.

MS Dhoni has been superb since 2018 with CSK. He has 871 runs at an average of 79.18 at a SR of 142.55. He is the leading run-scorer (627) for CSK against MI after Raina.

Rohit Sharma is the leading run-scorer within the players playing the match against CSK (646). He is a man to watch out for as he has a very high possibility to win the Orange cap this year.

Jasprit Bumrah, man of the match in the final against CSK last year and also a very successful bowler against MS Dhoni. He got MS out 3 times in the death overs. He is a major reason behind MI’s recent success against CSK.

Rahul Chahar will be very important for MI as CSK’s middle order collapsed against a leg spinner the last time these two teams played in an opening match. He has taken 3 wickets with an average of 20 at an economy of just above 4 against CSK.

EXPERT ADVICE

The Abu-Dhabi track might help the fast bowlers initially so it is advisable to pick Trent Boult, Deepak Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah in your XI. Quinton de Kock was the top scorer for MI last season but had an average of 14 against CSK.

PITCH REPORT and CONDITIONS

The pitch in Abu-Dhabi has been slow for years now. It is equally good for both batting and bowling. Still, as it is the first match, pace bowlers are expected to get some early wickets followed by the spinners. The average 1st innings score was 147 in 2014 IPL and is about 140 in all the T20Is played here. 150-160 is quite possible in the first game on Saturday.

The conditions are good for a cricket match with zero chances of rain. It will be a hot day as usual in UAE with uncertainty on the Dew factor.

DREAM 11 TEAM:

OPTION 1:

OPTION 2:

PREDICTION

It is a tough call to predict a winner from these two sides as both the teams are looking good with all bases covered. CSK will be without Raina and Harbhajan whereas MI always starts slow. Anyway, the team which saves their wickets in the first 10 overs can go through the line in the season opener. Toss will play a role in this match.


By Kaushik Kashyap

He is a Cricket enthusiast and a budding statistician.