Mumbai is a good side: Fleming

Dubai, Sept 19: ‘We have earned the right to be in the first game by playing well last year. Given the way the IPL 2019 final finished, it is nice to have another crack at MI. The first match is always full of anxiety, nerves and excitement.

CSK versus MI games have extra excitement as well as pressure, and we enjoy that, CSK coach Fleming said.

Mumbai is a very good side. The opener gives you a good gauge as to how the pre-season went. After the first match, you get a good idea of where your team is and the areas that need improvement, said the 47-year-old Kiwi.

Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), will go head-to-head in the opening match of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi today.

CSK recently suffered two major jolts as Suresh Raina and HarbhajanSingh opted out of the tournament citing personal reasons. It will be interesting to see how a charismatic leader like Dhoni, known for calmly handling all types of tense situations, overcomes their absence.

However, who replaces Raina will be known only when matches begin. With Ruturaj Gaikwad also being ruled out of the campaign opener, Kedhar Jadhav may be asked to bat at No. 3. CSK have the option of opening with Faf du Plessis and Watson. But juggling the foreign players and including then in the XI is also something the team management will have to look at. A maximum of four foreigners can be part of a playing XI, and Watson and Dwayne Bravo could be among the automatic starters.

In the bowling department, either Lungi Ngidi or Josh Hazlewood could make the cut. CSK is expected to rely on South African Imran Tahir while Mitchell Santner of New Zealand so far spin is concerned.

Harbhajan and Ravindra Jadeja could have formed a lethal spin attack. However, with Harbhajan missing, Tahir’s experience will become priceless. In such a situation, du Plessis could to miss the tournament opener, as the South African could find a berth in the XI if Dhoni opts to go with leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.