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Can Mumbai Indians take down Chennai Super Kings' Chepauk fortress?

MS Dhoni, back in yellow colours, with Rohit Sharma at the toss BCCI

Big picture

This is arguably the biggest rivalry in the history of the tournament - the IPL's El Clasico. Mumbai Indians ended Chennai Super Kings' three-match winning streak earlier this month. And while Super Kings are yet to lose a home game this season, the last team to beat them at Chepauk were Mumbai, in IPL 2015, breaking a two-year streak. Super Kings have a 44% win record against Mumbai, while it's 60% or above against every other team. Since 2015, Mumbai have won five of the seven meetings between the two teams.

All this sets up a mouth-watering contest, as Mumbai face table-toppers Super Kings at a crucial stage in the tournament.

While Super Kings have all but sealed their spot in the playoffs, Mumbai are looking to cement their position with the race heating up. They're coming into the game following a five-day break after their loss to Rajasthan Royals. A win here will lift them to second, while a loss might land them in trouble, leaving their playoff hopes dependent on other closely-competing teams' results.

Super Kings went into their last game, against Sunrisers Hyderabad, facing questions over whether their batting was too dependent on MS Dhoni. They answered some of them, with Shane Watson and Suresh Raina stepping up to lead the chase of 175, and Dhoni didn't even come out to bat. There are, however, concerns surrounding Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, who have been in middling form this season.

Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, has struggled to convert starts, but his form does not seem to be that big a concern yet for Mumbai, who have enviable batting depth. After producing slow turners in the first half of the tournament, a batting-friendly track was laid out at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday, which is good news for the visiting team. Hardik Pandya's late assault ended Super Kings' last major unbeaten home streak in 2015. Can Mumbai take down Chennai in their Chepauk fortress yet again?

In the news

South Africa fast bowler Beuran Hendricks, who was named as the injured Alzarri Joseph's replacement, has linked up with the Mumbai side in Chennai.

Likely XIs

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Kedar Jadhav, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Harbhajan Singh, 11 Imran Tahir

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Ishan Kishan, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Suryakumar Yadav, 8 Rahul Chahar, 9 Jason Behrendorff, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Lasith Malinga

Previous meeting

Mumbai's seamers razed through a sloppy Super Kings line-up when the teams met at the Wankhede earlier this month.

Strategy punt

  • Quinton de Kock has been a force for Mumbai at the top of the order, having made 378 runs in ten games. He's coming into this match with four consecutive 30-plus scores, including two fifties. But this year, he has managed only 114 off 99 balls against spin while being dismissed four times in eight innings. In the IPL since 2015, de Kock has lost his wicket 13 times in 25 innings to spinners. Super Kings could introduce spin early to counter the de Kock threat. Harbhajan Singh, who has had plenty of Powerplay success against left-handers, will be the obvious choice for this match-up.

  • Suryakumar Yadav might be one of Mumbai's biggest assets, but this season he hasn't really taken off, particularly struggling in the middle overs against spin. In nine innings, he's lost his wicket three times to spinners and has scored just 107 off the 91 balls he's faced from them. A possible fix for this could be Mumbai sending in Ishan Kishan or Kieron Pollard earlier. Kishan has been aggressive against spinners, striking at 163.1 since 2018 in the IPL, while Pollard's best scores (83 v Kings XI and 46 not out v Sunrisers) this season have come when he's walked out within the first 12 overs of the innings.

Stats that matter

  • Hardik has an average of 42 in the death overs and has been striking at 207.9 in this phase in nine innings.

  • Raina needs one more fifty to bring up 50 fifties in T20s and one more catch to get to 100 catches in the IPL.

  • Dhoni is one big hit away from 200 sixes for Chennai Super Kings.

Super Kings 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st9SR WatsonM Vijay
2nd13SK RainaM Vijay
3rd12AT RayuduM Vijay
4th11M VijayKM Jadhav
5th15M VijayDR Shorey
6th6DJ BravoM Vijay
7th33DJ BravoMJ Santner
8th2DL ChaharMJ Santner
9th2Harbhajan SinghMJ Santner
10th6Imran TahirMJ Santner