Title holders have certainly come a long way, following the first phase in the UAE where the Rohit Sharma-led team tasted five defeats in a row
Mumbai: After scripting an incredible finish in their last game to earn a place at the play-offs, defending champions Mumbai Indians will now be up against two-time title holders Chennai Super Kings in the IPL eliminator today. The resurgent MI, who sealed a berth at the play-offs by virtue of a better net run rate after producing an improbable runchase against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, would be eager to continue in the same vein but they face a daunting task against a formidable side at the Brabourne Stadium.
Kiwi batsman Corey Anderson conjured up an astonishing 44-ball 95 under tremendous pressure to single-handedly power Mumbai Indians to the IPL play-offs as the hosts rattled Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a high-scoring thriller.
Requiring to chase down a 190-run target within 15 overs, Mumbai Indians overhauled the target in just 14.4 overs.
The Last edition’s winners have certainly come a long way, following the first phase in the UAE where the Rohit Sharma-led team tasted five defeats in a row.
Mumbai seems to have put behind its opening woes, with a successful combination of former Australian player Michael Hussey and West Indian Lendl Simmons, who has scored the only century so far.Ambati Rayudu and skipper Rohit Sharma have been in good touch and the middle-order is a force to reckon with powered by the hard-hitting Anderson and West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard.
Mumbai’s bowling attack looks weak in the absence of Lasith Malinga, who is representing Sri Lanka in the series against England. Praveen Kumar, who was a replacement to Zaheer Khan sustained an ankle injury and it is unclear whether the Uttar Pradesh pacer will feature in the crucial tie against Chennai Super Kings.
The addition of young Karnataka leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal has added teeth to the bowling department with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh being in his elements. Chennai, on the other hand, snapped their three-match losing streak with a comfortable eight-win win against the Royal Challengers on Saturday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men won both the league ties against Mumbai this year and they would be eager to pull the rug from under their feet for one more time to get another shot at the title.Chennai possess a good batting line-up which includes the lethal opening pair of West Indian Dwayne Smith and New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum.Smith has amassed 501 runs so far this season, while McCullum has scored 380 runs.
IPL returns to Brabourne after a gap of three seasons
Mumbai: Brabourne Stadium, the long-standing Test venue in this metropolis before the construction of the Wankhede Stadium, will play host to the Indian Premier League after a gap of three seasons when holders Mumbai Indians clash with Chennai Super Kings in the Eliminator. Brabourne was the home venue of MI and hosted all their seven home games in 2010 when Wankhede was unavailable as it was being revamped to organise the 2011 World Cup matches.
MI had made the Cricket Club of India, that owns Brabourne, a veritable fortress then — similar to the way they made the Wankhede last year — as they won six out of seven games there, the only loss coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore. But Mumbai had another venue to host IPL games then, the D Y Patil Sports Academy in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, which not only hosted the opening game between 2009 winners Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders on March 12 but also all the four knock out games – including the April 25 final between MI and Chennai Super Kings.