Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will start as favourites riding on skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s rich form when they take on slow-starters Mumbai Indians in a high-voltage Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Wednesday. Super Kings, who have won the cash-rich T20 league thrice like the hosts, are sitting pretty at the top of the eight-team table with three wins on the trot from three games.

Placed sixth, Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have not started well as usual with a victory sandwiched between two defeats. On the morrow, Super Kings will hold the edge with Dhoni in rollicking form. The 37-year old former India captain hit a 46-ball 75 in their last game against Rajasthan Royals to singlehandedly lift his team from 27/3 to 175/5 at home. Chasing 176 for victory, Royals could not match up to Super Kings’ death bowling and Dhoni’s shrewd captaincy.

Called the ‘Daddy’s Army’ for a host of over the hill cricketers in their arsenal, Super Kings have defied all odds to win the title last season and have continued their form this year in the opening exchanges. The visitors have experience in their batting and bowling departments with the likes of Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu adding to the might.

Rayudu, who is still hopeful of retaining his No. 4 spot in the Indian team for the World Cup, has been off colour and has to get his act together quickly. Deepak Chahar was useful with the ball the other day and would look to continue the good work. Coming to the hosts, Mumbai are over-dependent on openers Rohit and South African Quinton de Kock. The others have failed to get runs and need to step up.

On Wednesday, Mumbai will have the services of new recruit, West Indian fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, and can also play all rounder Ben Cutting in place of the Lasith Malinga who has looked lacklustre. In the spin department, Chennai have the edge too, with South African Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja doing the job well after the power play.

Key stats and numbers

  • The Wankhede is a big scoring ground and arguably one of the most sporting wickets on offer in the IPL. Out of 67 IPL games played at Wankhede so far, 34 of them have been won by the team batting first and 33 by the team batting second.
  • The hosts will have the option of fielding new recruit, West Indian fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, or all-rounder Ben Cutting in place of Lasith Malinga.
  • CSK have the edge in batting depth and in spin bowling variety, while Mumbai Indians have the better pace attack on a pitch that is bound to offer bounce and carry.
  • In the spin department, Mumbai are behind their opponents who have Harbhajan Singh, South African Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja to bank on after the power play.
  • Overall, MI holds a 14-12 advantage over CSK, including one in defunct CL T20 League.

Probable XI

Mumbai Indians
Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

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