A Repeat Of Last Years Final
In a repeat of last year’s final, Mumbai take on CSK in what promises to be a thriller of an opening encounter. The Indians are charging for their fifth IPL crown, though they’ve never before managed back to back triumphs. While it’s not the most star studded of lineups that they’re bringing over to the UAE this year, they’ve still got talent in abundance and are certainly still the team to beat.
Mumbai Batting Has Attacking Depth
Chris Lynn returns this year for Mumbai and, on his day, is one of the crispest ball strikers you’re ever likely to find while captain Rohit Sharma and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock bulk up a pretty healthy batting lineup, which goes deep with All rounder Keiron Pollard capable of taking the game by the scruff of the neck as well as the Pandya brothers, both of whom carry a healthy strike rate in the IPL.
Spin Key To Mumbai Success
It’s not just their strength in depth with the bat that makes them such a dangerous side though, and their spin bowlers are among the best in the division. Jayant Yadav, Krunal Pandya and the young Rahul Chanar will be lethal in the middle overs, which is where they were at their best last year with Mumbai holding the second best economy rate in the division across those middle overs, and it’s hard to see where this CSK side are going to be able to exploit.
Chennai’s Aging Squad
The Super Kings are one of the division’s aging sides, with six over 35s in their squad (bearing in mind there are only 16 such players in the IPL this year). While you could look at that as having far more experience at this level than some of the other sides, there’s a bulk of the side that are lacking any sort of match sharpness. Seven of their squad haven’t played competitive cricket of any kind in 2020, and up against such a dangerous side it’s hard to see them hit the ground running.
Discount captain MS Dhoni at your peril, though, and his side won four of their five fixtures when last in the UAE, while their opponents on this occasion lost all five of theirs.
Their aging squad has defied the odds and got them to consecutive IPL finals now, though with 16 months since that last final and the likes of Dhoni and Shane Watson both sitting at the ripe age of 39, question marks have to be raised over whether they can still mix it with the best.
Mumbai To Beat Chennai
Mumbai won all three four meetings between the two last year, as well as the match away in Chennai prior to that run in 2018, so we’re happy to get behind them to get their title defence off to a winning start.