The Mumbai Indians will take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings in a highly anticipated IPL 2019 clash at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday, 3 April 2019.
The last time these two sides met each other at the Wankhede, in the 2018 IPL season opener, it was a festive mood as the Super Kings had returned to the IPL after a two-year hiatus.
The journey so far this season has been contrasting, with MS Dhoni's men winning all three of their games, while Mumbai have managed just one narrow win against RCB out of the three encounters they have played. Let us look at three reasons why the Men in Yellow are likely to emerge victorious in the latest MI vs CSK clash:
1. CSK's formidable bowling unit
Though Mumbai's bowling seems formidable on paper with the likes of Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga, it hasn't exactly fired on the field. Except for Bumrah, no other bowler has managed to maintain an economy below 7 in the three matches so far.
Mumbai Indians' first home game of this season (against Delhi Capitals) proved disastrous as all their bowlers were taken to the cleaners (recording an economy of 10.0 and above).
On the other hand, the CSK bowlers were dominant in the season opener against RCB, bundling them out for just 70 runs. While the other bowlers helped CSK restrict Delhi Capitals to a modest total in their second game, both Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir proved costly at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Nevertheless, the duo took two wickets each against Rajasthan at Chepauk, thereby providing major breakthroughs in Chennai's thrilling eight-run win.
2. The winning streak
Chennai's victory over Rajasthan at home was their third win in three matches this season and their sixth successive win in the IPL (including victories in the last three games of 2018 IPL).
This is the third occasion of MS Dhoni's men winning six or more IPL matches in succession - they won seven in a row in IPL 2013 and six in a row in IPL 2014. Also, having won all the three games at Wankhede last season (against Mumbai Indians, Qualifier 1 and final), they will be looking to maintain the winning momentum tomorrow.
3. The form and depth of CSK's middle order
In Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, CSK have formidable and proven match-winners in the middle. With Dhoni getting into the groove against Rajasthan in the last game, expect more fireworks from the ruthless CSK middle-order.
Mumbai on the other hand have been heavily reliant on their openers - skipper Rohit Sharma and wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock. Though Yuvraj Singh produced a brilliant knock in Mumbai's first game, he failed to score big in the next two matches.
The inconsistency of Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard and Yuvraj has put the onus on Hardik Pandya to deliver with the willow in the middle overs. That's too much pressure on his shoulders, and a big advantage to CSK in the matchup.Published 02 Apr 2019, 22:39 IST