IPL 2018: Struggling Mumbai Indians face a stern task against in-form Chennai Super Kings

Denzil Pinto 14:10 27/04/2018
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On a roll: Chennai Super Kings. Image: CSK/Twitter

Two of the IPL’s most successful sides renew their rivalry when Chennai Super Kings take on defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday night.

Chennai go into the game on the back of an impressive win against Royal Challengers Bangalore after chasing a mammoth 206 on Wednesday. While that result has put Chennai to the top of the standings, the same can’t be said of Mumbai Indians.

The three-time winners are languishing at second bottom of the table with just one win and face a steep task of keeping their play-off hopes alive.

DEFEAT IS NOT AN OPTION FOR MUMBAI

With five losses from six matches, another negative result will surely be the end of Mumbai’s title defence. It’s quite staggering that with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Keiron Pollard, Evin Lewis and Hardik Pandya among the batting talent they boast, Mumbai have struggled in 2018.

In their last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, a target of 119 should have been achieved with ease especially when they posted scores of 167, 194 and 213 prior to those matches. But the way they collapsed to 87 all out sums up Mumbai’s season so far.

For them, every match will have to be treated as a final if they want to go all the way.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

At 36, MS Dhoni is proving there’s still plenty left in the tank and more importantly that he can deliver under pressure. In their chase of 206, Chennai were already 74-4 but against all the odds, Dhoni turned it on in style with a sensational 70 not out from 34 deliveries to guide his team to victory. It was his second half-century of the competition and there’s no reason why he can’t add to that tally this season.

For Keiron Pollard, the West Indian has simply not turned up at all for Mumbai Indians. With a high score of 28, and single digits in three of the five games tells you pretty much how poor he’s been. There’s no doubting the qualities Pollard possesses but if there’s a time to end that dismal run, it is now.

LIKELY TEAMS:

Chennai Super Kings:

MS Dhoni (C), S Watson, A Rayudu, S Raina, S Billings, R Jadeja, D Bravo, H Singh, DL Chahar, SN Thakur, I Tahir

Mumbai Indians:

Sharma (C), S Yadav, E Lewis, I Kishan, H Pandya, K Pollard, K Pandya, M McClenaghan, M Markande, J Bumrah, M Rahman

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