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TOSS: Chennai Super Kings win toss and opt to bowl against Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan (w), Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Mayank Markande, Kieron Pollard, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Mark Wood
“There is a fair bit of grass covering, it means that the seam bowlers will get the ball to move a bit. It will come on to the bat nicely, should be plenty of runs on this surface, a typical Wankhede pitch” – Sunil Gavaskar
Returning to the fray after serving out a two-year suspension, two-time winners Chennai Super Kings take on reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the lung-opener of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
MI, led by Rohit Sharma, appear to face an arduous task against the star-studded Chennai side, led by their charismatic skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is back at the helm following the team’s two-year ban in 2016 and 2017 IPL seasons along with Rajasthan Royals.
The visitors would surely like to begin their campaign with a bang against their arch-rivals in the latter’s backyard. To give an extra dimension to the contest will be the sight of veteran offie Harbhajan Singh turning out in CSK yellows against a side which he served with distinction for ten long years.
Mumbai will bank on their skipper Sharma, who has kept the number of his batting position under wraps for this game, but his role will be crucial. Rohit has showed that when he gets going then no bowling attack can stop him in the limited over formats and he would hope for a big knock in the first game to boost his and the team’s confidence.
Apart from him, they have a good batting-line up with the likes of West Indians Elvin Lewis and Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddesh Lad.
The role of Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal as all-rounders will also be crucial. But this time Mumbai will miss the services of not only Harbhajan but also pacer Lasith Malinga as a player although the Sri Lankan continues his association with the hosts as their bowling mentor.
Mumbai also have one of the finest death bowlers currently in the world in Jasprit Bumrah. Coach Mahela Jayawardane would expect other bowlers like Australian Pat Cummins, Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman to deliver and aid Bumrah.
Mumbai’s spin department is inexperienced with young spinners Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy and Sri Lankan Akila Dananjaya expected to deliver the goods on a track expected to provide spin as well as bounce.
On the eve of the game, MI skipper Sharma said that whichever team handles the pressure well, will come out victorious.
Chennai, on the other hand, have a more settled team as they have retained their core players like Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
They also have other experienced players in Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, South African Faf Du Plessis, Sam Billings and Shane Watson to share the burden.
On the bowling front, Harbhajan, Karn Sharma and Mumbai and India pacer Shardul Thakur are well versed with the conditions at the Wankhede.