Mumbai Indians’ Dhawal Kulkarni bowls under the watchful eye of bowling coach Shane Bond during a training session. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
A rampant Mumbai Indians (MI) will look to knock down Delhi Capitals (DC) from their perch and go on top of the standings when they take on a struggling Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Friday.
Mumbai, who are trailing Delhi by just two points, have slipped to the third spot owing to a thumping victory of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
After restricting Kolkata to a paltry 84 and beating them by eight wickets with 6.3 overs to spare, Bangalore knocked down Mumbai from the second spot due to a better run rate despite being tied on points.
Mumbai would look to bounce back from their loss in the last match against giant-killers Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). The match turned out be the most gripping clash of the season, going to a double Super Over after the first one failed to decide the fate of the game.
Mumbai’s strength has been their batting. Most of their top-order comprising Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and skipper Rohit Sharma are in form and have chipped in with useful contributions from time to time.
They have explosive batsmen with the likes of Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard towards the fag end of their tall batting order, that makes the outfit one of the most complete teams in the tournament. The pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Patt Cummins have been instrumental in their winning run at the IPL so far.
Bumrah and Boult have picked up 15 and 12 wickets respectively in nine matches so far while Pattinson has nine in his kitty from seven games.
Mumbai bowling coach Shane Bond was full of adulation for all three of them and expressed his delight at working with the quicks.
“I am happy and the reason is that these seamers are bowling very beautifully. These bowlers have got a number of different skills. I encourage them to use those skills,” said Bond.
“We have obviously used the bouncer and short ball a lot. We have three bowlers, who bowl at around 140km/hr. It is just putting and applying those skills in the right way, the right time.”
Meanwhile, Mumbai head coach Mahela Jayawardene also expressed satisfaction at the performance of the team.
While Boult leaked runs against Punjab, Bumrah was at his lethal best and would aim to replicate the show against a struggling Chennai. Spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal will be expected to get them the breakthroughs in the middle-overs.
Overall, Mumbai would not just aim to regain their winning touch but would also try to avenge their defeat in the campaign opener against their arch-rivals.
Meanwhile, Chennai’s hopes of making it to the play-offs are all but over but the defeat of Kolkata by Bangalore has handed them a ray of hope.
CSK would look to exploit the opportunity to their advantage when they face a confident Mumbai in their return fixture.
They are lying at the bottom of the points table with just six points from 10 matches and need to win all their remaining four games. Despite winning all their remaining games, they will have to wait for the results of other matches to go in their favour.
The last time the two teams met, Chennai had registered a five-wicket win but since then, things have changed drastically. Nothing has gone Chennai’s way and to add to their woes, their most experienced all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has now been ruled out of the league.
Injuries to their key players like Bravo have added to their woes. Bravo, who recently became the only player in the world to take 500 wickets in T20 cricket at the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL), was ruled out of the IPL after picking up an injury.
Their batting has completely flopped barring one or two good innings by Faf du Plessis. Their middle-order was affected when Suresh Raina pulled out of the tournament well before it began. Undoubtedly, Chennai will have to dish out their best to remain in contention for the next stage.
Squads: Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaspreet Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Jayant Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Francois Du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, KM Asif, Narayan Jagadeesan, Monu Kumar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, R Sai Kishore, Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran.
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