CSK would like to consolidate their position at the top of the table when they face MI at home.
They might have already reached the cut-off limit of 16 points needed for the play-offs, but Chennai Super Kings (CSK) would like to consolidate their position at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table when they take on an inconsistent Mumbai Indians (MI) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on April 26.
The MS Dhoni-led side roared back to form after two losses, with a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at Chennai on April 23, riding on Shane Watson's big hitting.
The hosts would be looking to continue the momentum when the Mumbai Indians come knocking.
The visitors, currently in third spot with 12 points from 10 games, are coming off a defeat against Rajasthan Royals and will be keen to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
While CSK's must have welcomed Watson's return to form, the team would be hoping for Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav to get going ahead of the knockout phase.
It is important for Jadhav to get his touch back with the World Cup looming.
The bowlers have played a big role in CSK's success so far, especially at home, on sluggish tracks. The much-improved Deepak Chahar will be key in the matches to come with his intelligent bowling at the start and at the death.
Though Imran Tahir, who is the second highest wicket-taker with 16, went wicketless in the SRH match, the South African veteran will be expected to stymie the powerful Mumbai Indians batting line-up along with fellow spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh.
Mumbai have had a roller coaster season so far and they now need to be at their best in the last lap of the preliminary phase.
In Rohit Sharma, they have a shrewd captain who leads from the front, and a solid batting unit that includes Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers -- Hardik & Krunal.
Jasprit Bumrah & Co. will be wary of CSK's batting with Watson having found his mojo again and the ever-reliable Dhoni.
An interesting battle looms between the two three-time champions.
Timing – 8 pm
Venue – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
Where to watch – Star Sports 1/1HD/1 Hindi/1HD Hindi/1 Tamil/1 Telugu/1 Kannada/1 Bangla/Select 1/Select 1HD. Online viewers can catch the action live on Hotstar.
Head to head:
The two teams have faced each other 27 times in the past with Mumbai being the dominant side with 15 wins compared to Chennai’s 12.
In the earlier fixture between this sides at the Wankhede, Mumbai beat Chennai by 37 runs thanks to an all-round performance from Hardik Pandya. The MI man scored a quick-fire 25* off just 8 balls before returning figures of 3/20.
Chennai will most likely field the same playing XI which beat Sunrisers Hyderabad convincingly in their last game.
Mumbai could decide to bring back Ishan Kishan in place of Ben Cutting who hasn’t done much to earn his spot in the playing XI.
Prediction: who will win?
Mumbai is the only team who boasts of a better head to head against Chennai. MI need this win and will be expected to emerge as winners in a close encounter.
Betting odds (Bet365):
Chennai Super Kings: 4/5
Mumbai Indians: 1
Other popular bets can be viewed on Oddschecker.com.
MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch report: The pitch at Chennai is slow and spinners get a lot of purchase from the track. Both teams boast of impressive spin options who could decide the result.
Players to watch out for:
Imran Tahir (CSK)
The veteran spinner is second on the list of wicket-takers this season with 16 wickets from just 11 games. He also boasts of an impressive economy of just 6.23.
Jasprit Bumrah (MI)
The pacer is the leading wicket-taker for Mumbai with 11 scalps so far. Batsmen have struggled to take runs off the speedster who continues to choke teams in the death overs.
IPL Points Table:
Chennai find themselves at the top of the points table with 16 points from 11 games. Mumbai are in third spot with 12 points from 10 games. Check out the updated points table here.(With inputs from PTI)