IPL 2019: Momentum and psychological edge with Mumbai in Qualifier 1 battle with CSK

Sudhir Gupta 13:36 06/05/2019
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Mumbai and CSK meet in Qualifier 1. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Despite recent setbacks, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming has vowed to back his playing XI ahead of the upcoming Qualifier 1 battle against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.

Having earlier become the first team to qualify for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 play-offs, Chennai have seen the momentum slip away of late with two defeats in their last three outings.

The latest of them came in a crushing six-wicket loss to Kings XI Punjab at Mohali on Sunday in what was their fifth defeat this campaign.

Question marks have been raised over the form of Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu but Fleming is backing the veterans to step up in the play-offs.

“It (form) ebbs and flows throughout the tournament. We can still get better on all facets,” Fleming said after the defeat to KXIP.

“We’re now getting into one-off games, and we’re going to back these players right through to the end.

“We have drifted a bit in the last couple of games with a little bit of fatigue and a little bit of being near the top of the table. But that’s over now, and we can focus on the one-off game in Chennai and go wherever we need to go after that.”

While Chennai are in danger of losing momentum at the most crucial stage of the tournament, there are no such worries for Mumbai who finished the league stage in control after a thumping nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders.

With Mumbai men picking up steam at just the right time, skipper Rohit Sharma is a confident man heading into the play-offs.

“It is something we know about the IPL that the business end matters. We always come back well in the second half of the tournament,” he said after Sunday’s win over KKR.

“In all three trophies that we have won, the boys have picked themselves up in the business end.”

While defending champions CSK have won six of their seven home matches at the Chepauk Stadium this season, their only loss at the venue came against Mumbai itself. Rohit’s men have a positive 5-2 head-to-head record against MS Dhoni’s troops at the venue and that should see them hold the slight psychological edge in Tuesday’s clash.

Mumbai and Chennai are the two most dominant teams in the history of the IPL with both franchises having won the competition thrice apiece.

The winner of the first Qualifier will gain a direct entry into the final to be held on May 12 while the loser will get another shot in Qualifier 2 set to take place at Vizag on Friday.

LIKELY XIs

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk and c), Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.

Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

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