Can Mumbai stop CSK’s winning streak at home?

Chennai: In an all important clash, the arch-rivals and two most successful IPL franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will battle it out against each other at Chepauk.

MI last played their game against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur, last Saturday where they lost after Steve Smith took Royals home. Fresh after a five-day break, Mumbai would look to give a tough fight to the defending champions, having already beaten them in the earlier fixture at Mumbai.

Having already qualified for the play-off, for CSK it will be important to earn two more points to ensure a top 2 finish while on the other hand MI will look to get back to winning ways and also get closer to secure playoff spot.

CSK, after facing two successive defeats in away games to Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore, returned back to winning ways against SRH at home. With Watson scoring 96 in that game will come as a huge relief for CSK, whose top order fared poorly in the previous games.

CSK looks set as a team and especially in home conditions, will be tough to beat however, the nature of the pitch has changed completely after the short break before the previous game. During the first four matches, the pitch and the outfield was on the slower side, aiding spinners and making it difficult for the batters. Last game, the out field became lightning quick and both the teams scored nearly at a run-rate of nine runs per over. the pitch once again will be the same and one can expect a run feast in the game.

For MI, while the form of Hardik Pandya has been top-notch, his brother, Krunal’s performance has been below-par so far both with the bat and ball. He struggled to get quick runs and also could not break partnerships with the ball. The elder Pandya will be looking to get back into his hitting form against CSK.

Rahul Chahar, the leg-spinner who has impressed so far, troubling players, is the player to watch out for in this encounter, where the conditions are expected to favour him. MI also has Mayank Markande and off-spinner Jayant Yadav to go with in the match. Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah form a formidable pace battery, and against the best team in the IPL this year, they would have their work cut out.

Aaditya Anand M