IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians have task cut out against unbeaten CSK

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Chennai Super Kings have three wins out of three. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS

Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have started in typical fashion in IPL 2019. While defending champions Chennai have hit the ground running, winning all three matches so far, Mumbai are taking their own sweet time to shift gears – as always.

Chennai showed remarkable composure under pressure to get out of a tight spot against Rajasthan Royals in their last game. After being 27-3, captain MS Dhoni dragged the score to a competitive 175-5 after hitting an unbeaten 75. Despite heavy dew, CSK kept Rajasthan eight runs way from their score.

Mumbai, on the other hand, have two losses and even the win against Royal Challengers Bangalore came in fortuitous circumstances as the umpire failed to spot a Lasith Malinga no-ball off the last ball of the game with Bangalore needing six for a tie.

Chennai are firing on all cylinders and experienced hands like MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo are chipping in with timely contributions. As Bravo revealed, the team don’t go overboard during team meetings as there is enough experience in the dressing room to take care of any situation.

Mumbai, on the other hand, have some concerns. Their star-studded bowling line-up could only muster two wickets against Kings XI Punjab in their previous game as they tried to defend 177. The addition of Australian left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff and Windies quick Alzarri Joseph gives them a few more options in the pace department but since the match is to be played on the flat batting deck of the Wankhede, it will be up to pace ace Jasprit Bumrah and their spinners to do the restricting job.

Mumbai have leg-spinner Mayank Markande in the mix but he bowled only one over in the last game and has been benched in one game. The three-time champions will need to get a lot more out of their wrist spinner and spinning all-rounder Krunal Pandya if they wish to restrict the supremely experienced Chennai batting line-up.

According to reports, Mumbai pace ace Malinga is set to return to Sri Lanka to play in the domestic one-day tournament to stake his claim for World Cup selection and captaincy. Rohit Sharma has the option of Aussie quick Behrendorff.

The form of Yuvraj Singh is a concern for Mumbai as well. The southpaw has kept the hugely talented Ishan Kishan out of the playing XI and the franchise might be losing patience with the veteran batsman. With Mumbai really needing to get a move on, now might be the time to field Kishan.

Chennai, meanwhile, won’t want to tinker with their match-winning combination. Harbhajan Singh sat out the last game while Kiwi all-rounder Mitchell Santner got game time. Dhoni might be tempted to give him another go as Santner is a good batting option as well.

LIKELY XIs:

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jason Behrendorff, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (ct & wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir

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IPL 2019 LIVE: Struggling RCB and Rajasthan Royals target first win of season

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Kohli.

Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore have endured a poor start to IPL 2019, losing their first three games.

However, when the two sides clash in Jaipur on Tuesday, hosts Rajasthan will take the field with more confidence as they have been competitive.

Bangalore, meanwhile, have been bowled out for 70 and 113 so far, putting captain Virat Kohli under even more pressure.

Which team will register its first win of the season? Catch the live updates below.

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IPL 2019: Lasith Malinga to return to Sri Lanka as flip-flop continues

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Lasith Malinga. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Mumbai Indians’ Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga’s participation in IPL 2019 continues to be a source of bemusement with news emerging of the pace ace preparing to return to his country to participate in a domestic tournament.

Malinga was originally supposed to miss the first six matches of the IPL in order to participate in the upcoming Super Provincial One-Day Cup, which was mandatory for World Cup selection. However, the Sri Lankan board had changed its stance for Malinga, stating that it would be better for the veteran pacer to take part in the entire IPL in order to play in a more competitive atmosphere.

“SLC decided to give permission to Lasith Malinga to play in the ongoing IPL. The management decided to release Malinga from participating in the Super Provincial; since he would get an opportunity to play with much stronger opposition in IPL; which consist of international players,” the board had said in a statement.

But in another twist in the tale, Malinga has reportedly expressed desire to return to Sri Lanka as he aims to stake his claim for ODI captaincy, which is seemingly up for grabs after the earlier favourite Dimuth Karunaratne landed in trouble for drink driving.

According to SportStar and the New Indian Express, Malinga will feature in the tournament that runs from April 4-11 as he believes it is important for his captaincy chances.

If that does happen, Mumbai Indians will not be too pleased as they invested heavily in Malinga, taking him in as a player this season after the Sri Lankan played the role of a mentor the previous season. Mumbai, however, have a ready replacement in Aussie left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff.

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