The Mumbai Indians (MI) take on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Match 27 of the IPL 2021 season at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Saturday. It promises to be a blockbuster clash between two of the most successful teams in the tournament’s history, with eight titles between them.
The fact that MI and CSK have faced off in three IPL finals speaks volumes about their fierce rivalry over the years. With a number of stars on both sides, this encounter promises to be an absolute humdinger.
MI are back to winning ways as a change of venue – from Chennai to Delhi – has helped them recalibrate their game. They eased past the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by seven wickets and will be keen to establish a winning streak.
CSK, on the other hand, are already on a great run, winning five of their six games, and currently top the table. Although the head-to-head might suggest that MI have the wood on them, MS Dhoni and his men will be confident of overcoming the challenge.
MI vs CSK: 3 batsmen to watch out for
Even a total in the range of 170-180 is not safe at the Delhi venue, which was earlier known as the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. This makes runs on the board extremely important; with a number of big-hitters in both teams, coupled with short boundaries, a high-scoring encounter is on the cards.
On that note, let's have a look at three batsmen who could have a memorable outing in the MI vs CSK encounter:
#3 Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has managed to get off to a good start in almost every innings this season. He, however, has only one half-century to show for his efforts and has been dismissed for playing extravagant shots.
The 30-year-old has been a consistent performer and has amassed more than 1,400 runs for MI over the years. This underlines the trust the team management has placed in him and the way in which he has repaid the faith.
CSK have some quality spinners and there is no doubt that Suryakumar is MI's best player of spin. The ease with which he dominates the slower bowlers by pumping them over cover, flicking them over mid-wicket and sweeping them with disdain just stamps his authority as a batsman.
With the Delhi pitch providing value for shots, Suryakumar will be determined to score big against CSK.
#2 Faf du Plessis
One of the biggest success stories for CSK this season has been the consistency of South African veteran Faf du Plessis. He is CSK's highest run-getter with 270 runs from six games, including three back-to-back half centuries.
Du Plessis has attacked the opposition bowlers in the powerplay and that has allowed his partner Ruturaj Gaikwad to take his time to get into the groove. Although he is approaching the twilight of his career, the former Proteas skipper seems to be aging like fine wine.
CSK's weakness last season was their batting. It has been a whole different story this season and Du Plessis has clearly led the way with the willow.
The experienced opener played a match-winning knock against MI in the opening game of last season and this should give him added confidence. How Du Plessis starts his innings will be key to CSK's chances in the match.
#1 Rohit Sharma
Although Rohit Sharma has had a mixed IPL season, he is still MI’s highest run-getter, with 215 runs. He threw away his start in the previous match against Rajasthan, but when it comes to facing CSK, the MI skipper takes his game to the next level.
Rohit is the third-highest run-scorer from MI against CSK, with 717 runs to his name, including seven half-centuries. Big-match players are able to raise their game to suit the occasion and the 34-year-old is certainly one of them.
If he gets his eye in, the pitch as well as the smaller ground dimensions in Delhi, will suit him pretty well. Rohit has the ability to play a counter-attacking brand of cricket and catch the opposition by surprise.
If Rohit gets going against CSK, there might be no stopping him. CSK bowlers, especially those operating with the new ball, will need to get rid of the MI skipper early if they want to avoid a good-hiding.