The most consistent team in the IPL, Chennai Super Kings begins their campaign against the defending champions, Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the Dream11 IPL 2020.
CSK has a poor head to head record against Mumbai with 11 wins and 17 losses. Let us look at the key aspects that they would have to focus on to defeat Mumbai.
1) The old war horses must be be backed up well
Fondly referred to as the dad's army in the IPL, CSK should firmly back their aging warriors. They would rely on a strong start from the experienced opening pair of Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis. Imran Tahir can spin a weave around Mumbai's batting if he is in form. Having won the purple cap last year with 26 wickets, he would be pumped up to continue the good show against the archrivals. They would rely on solidity in the middle order from the Indian trio of Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. With their immense experience, they look set for an impressive performance on the field.
2) Utilize the spinners intelligently
In the absence of game-changers such as Harbhajan Singh, the onus would lie on the accuracy of Ravindra Jadeja, wicket-taking ability of Tahir and the experience of Piyush Chawla. The heat factor in UAE and the nature of pitches there would benefit CSK's spin department. Since the match starts earlier than the time zone of India, the spinners need not bowl with the wet ball in the second innings giving another advantage.
3) Focus on more consistency from the fast bowlers
With Deepak Chahar having recovered from the coronavirus, CSK would breathe a sigh of relief. His partnership with Shardul Thakur would be crucial for CSK to trouble Mumbai's top order. However, they have leaked runs several times in the death overs and should look to get their act right this time around. With the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Sam Curran waiting in the wings, CSK's pace attack looks stronger. Dwayne Bravo's effective cutters should slow down Mumbai.
4) Dhoni to hit form quickly
Playing his first competitive match in more than a year, the cynosure of all eyes in this year's IPL. He has smacked more than 400 runs each in the last two editions and won matches for CSK from near-impossible situations. The team gets a lot of self-belief when Dhoni is in good touch and he would look to get into the groove quickly. He must watch out for the wily leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
5) Rely more on Bravo
Having been part of the champions, Trinbago Knight Riders in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League, Bravo will be raring to go. He is just three wickets away from breaking Ravichandran Ashwin's record of the most wickets for CSK. His presence at the death overs would be beneficial for CSK as he can cut the runflow effectively.
“The first game is always full of anxiety, nerves and excitement, we’ve earned the right to play the first game by playing well last year, and given the way the final finished last year, it’s nice to have another crack at MI,” said CSK coach Stephen Fleming sounding optimistic.
It would be a cracker of a contest given the history of their rivalry. CSK would look to stop Mumbai's five match winning streak.