Some 16 months ago, at Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians (MI) edged their perennial rivals Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a topsy-turvy IPL final. The victory ensured that the former established itself as the most successful side ahead of IPL 2020, by virtue of winning the crown on four separate occasions.
Thus, it seems rather poetic that the teams that clashed in Hyderabad on that sultry May evening, are the outfits to raise the curtains for an IPL season that promises to be just as enthralling.
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Over the years, not many cricketing franchises have enjoyed as storied a rivalry as the one encompassing CSK and MI. In fact, one could count the instances of the pair producing a damp squib on one hand – something that only adds to the legend of the feud.
On Saturday (19th September 2020), both teams would enter IPL 2020 knowing that circumstances are pretty different from what they were, when they last clashed swords.
For MI, Lasith Malinga has pulled out of IPL 2020, although they seem to have offset his departure with the additions of James Pattinson, Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter-Nile. On the batting front, they brought on board Chris Lynn – a batsman that has often frustrated but still represents one capable of turning matches in a trice.
Additionally, the presence of Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Hardik and Krunal Pandya should ideally tide over any prospective storms, not just against CSK but throughout the duration of IPL 2020.
CSK, meanwhile, would be without the services of Suresh Raina for IPL 2020 – something that will certainly throw a spanner in their works. The left-hander left the bio-secure bubble (for personal reasons) days after arriving in the UAE, meaning that CSK’s support cast has suddenly been propelled into the role of the protagonist.
In that scenario, the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav might have bigger roles to play, considering the experience they bring to the fore. Yet, it is worth noting that none of the aforementioned trio has particularly set the world ablaze in recent times.
Elsewhere, there is also the small issue of MS Dhoni and Shane Watson having not played competitive cricket for a bit. Though the duo possesses the know-how to negotiate their way past potentially tricky obstacles during IPL 2020, one reckons that they could be caught a little cold, especially if they’re not at the top of their games against MI.
Hence, heading into the opening encounter of IPL 2020, there seem to be plenty of intricate subplots to keep an eye on. And, when considering the magnitude of the rivalry on offer, that isn’t too much of a surprise.
IPL 2020, CSK vs MI Match Details
Date: 19th September, 2020
Time: 7:30 pm IST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Thankfully, there should be no rain to accompany the players during the opening encounter of IPL 2020. Temperatures though, would test the players to the hilt, with those expected to hover around the late 20-degree Celsius range, even at night.
The strip at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium has tended to aid spinners over the years, with the relatively bigger ground dimensions also helping their cause. Additionally, it is late summer in the UAE, meaning that the pitches could just be a tad on the slower side – something that could make run-scoring difficult.
Mumbai Indians have plenty of options to choose from, although coach Mahela Jayawardene recently hinted that Chris Lynn might have to wait for his chance to open the innings in IPL 2020. As for the rest of the team, it pretty much selects itself, with the only quandary revolving around the identity of the two overseas fast bowlers that MI would opt for.
Mumbai Indians XI (Possible): Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, might have to juggle their pack to make up for Suresh Raina’s absence. With the left-hander not available, they might want to use the experience of Faf du Plessis at the top of the order, meaning that one overseas bowler could miss out.
Chennai Super Kings XI (Possible): Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell San, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
IPL 2020, CSK vs MI Match Prediction
Despite the experience in CSK’s ranks, most of their players are coming into IPL 2020 on the back of some long lay-offs. Though the situation isn’t much different for MI, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, they still seem to have enough firepower (both on the bowling and batting front) and quality to emerge victorious in this contest. And, they seem to have had the beating of CSK in recent times.
Though the match could go down to the wire, one reckons that MI might just pull through in the IPL 2020 opener.
IPL 2020, CSK vs MI TV and live streaming details
TV: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports Hindi and Star Sports Select 1
Live Streaming: HotstarPublished 18 Sep 2020, 16:00 IST