Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
MI won: 14
CSK won: 12
The greatest rivalry in IPL cricket history is back. The big day is here. And Bookmyshow are the official ticketing partners for both these exemplary IPL teams. The first (of at least two) match of IPL 2019 between Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians and MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings will take place on Wednesday night at the home of Indian cricket: The Wankhede Stadium. These are the two best teams over the 12 seasons of the Indian Premier League. Between them, they have 6 IPL titles and 12 Finals. Mumbai Indians is the only IPL team against which CSK has a “losing” record – that is, CSK has lost more than they have won against this team. Mumbai has won 4 of their last 5 contests dating back to IPL 2015.
(Book your tickets for Mumbai Indians’ games here)
Captain: Rohit Sharma
IPL titles: 3
Not for the first time, MI has had a below-average start to the season. They have lost two of their three IPL games so far. What’s more worrying is that they have lost to “weaker” teams like Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab this season in the beginning, and have only beaten RCB so far. What’s even more worrying is that despite having two of the best death bowlers in limited-overs cricket – Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga – the bowling attack has failed to contain the opposition. Bumrah’s magic worked only against RCB, but he leaked runs against DC and KXIP, while Malinga, the most successful bowler in IPL history, is not the bowler he was five years ago. This will be Malinga’s last game before he heads back home to play a provincial tournament, and he will be keen to end with a bang. Another problem remains Kieron Pollard’s form in the middle order – he has started with only 33 runs in 3 innings this season. Last season he managed less than 200 in 14 games. Pollard is a Mumbai Indians loyalist since 2010, and has been effective in all seasons but 2018 so far. His fielding remains priceless, and Sharma hopes that he can inspire the middle order to end innings with an explosion. An option in this game could be to replace a struggling Yuvraj Singh with the unpredictable keeper Ishan Kishan, while bringing in Evin Lewis to replace De Kock at the top.
Rohit, De Kock, Suryakumar, Yuvraj, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal, Jason Behrendorff, Markande, Bumrah, Malinga
Captain: MS Dhoni
IPL titles: 3
It’s all going well for the “old” CSK team, who have now won 6 IPL games on the trot dating back to before the IPL 2018 playoffs. They have started 2019 with three wins in a row; even MS Dhoni hit form against the Rajasthan Royals at the Chepauk in the last game with a splendidly paced 77 to rescue his team from certain defeat. Experience seems to be paying off for the stable CSK team, with players like Bravo, Watson and even Harbhajan having contributed to wins this season. Deepak Chahar has bowled economically up front, conceding less than 5 an over in the first 8 overs three games running now. The line-up looks settled, even though some players are yet to hit form this season. They don’t look very strong on paper, but they are clinical and know how to win, as they have proved time and again.
Watson, Du Plessis/Rayadu, Raina, Dhoni, Jadhav, Bravo, Jadeja, Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan/Santner, Imran Tahir
Mumbai will continue their winning record against CSK, handing them their first defeat of IPL 2019. Expect Rohit to come to the party.