Their confidence low after earning just a point from the last three games, Chennai Super Kings will look to get their campaign back on track when they host a resurgent Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2023 on Saturday.
The four-time champions will, however, be wary of MI, which has a superior record at M A Chidambaram stadium here and has claimed victories in the last two matches.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Super Kings lost the two matches they played against five-time champions MI in 2019 and will be playing their arch-rivals at home after nearly four years.
CSK head into Saturday’s game on the back of a rained off fixture (vs LSG) and two losses.
Having endured a defeat at the hands of Punjab Kings in a last-ball thriller on April 30, CSK will hope their fortunes change in the second afternoon match at home.
Devon Conway (414 runs) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (354 runs) have provided strong starts but the middle-order has not been able to build on them on occasions, leaving the think-tank and fans flummoxed.
While the experienced Ajinkya Rahane has pulled his weight as has Shivam Dube, CSK will be hope Ambati Rayudu and Moeen Ali can rise to the occasion as the tournament winds down towards the business end.
The talismanic Dhoni, batting way too low down the order, has smacked a few out of the park to boost the score. However, as many wonder, it remains a mystery as to why the out of form Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja bat ahead of him.
Rahane was in brilliant form as CSK won the first game in Mumbai and would be raring to do an encore.
The bowling department has been boosted with the return of Deepak Chahar. However, bowlers like Tushar Deshpande (17 wickets, economy rate: 12.11 ) leaking runs despite picking up wickets has hurt the team’s cause.
Jadeja, who has been brilliant with the ball though not so with the bat, like always would be key for CSK along with fellow spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Moeen Ali.
There have been calls for playing Mitchell Santner in the XI as he can be handy with the bat apart from his bowling exploits but it remains to be seen if the team would bring him in for either Moeen or Theekshana.
Young pacer Matheesha Pathirana has been doing a good job and the MI batters would be wary of the Lankan slinger come Saturday.
Mumbai Indians, after a sluggish start, have slowly gathered momentum, chasing down tall scores. However, the bowlers’ inability to curtail opposition batters would be a cause of worry for skipper Rohit Sharma, who himself has been short of runs.
The return of Jofra Archer augurs well for Mumbai but he would need to pick wickets while the onus would be on the other bowlers to be economical.
Experienced leg-spinner Piyush Chawla would have a big part to play if MI have to keep CSK batters in check.
Ishan Kishan hit form in the win over Punjab Kings on Wednesday as did Suryakumar Yadav and that would have pleased the Mumbai team management and the fans.
If the two, apart from Rohit, Cameron Green and Tilak Varma can get going, the Super Kings bowlers would have a huge task on hand. The wickets at Chidambaram stadium have been a mixed bag so far unlike the slow, low ones of the past, enabling teams to get good scores. What kind of a track is dished out for CSK’s 11th match of the season could have a say in the proceedings.
With CSK (11 points) and MI (10) in a tight contest for points and securing spots in the play-offs, Saturday’s game promises an interesting battle.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c/wk), Akash Singh, Moeen Ali, Bhagath Varma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Matheesha Pathirana, Dwaine Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, Maheesh Theekshana.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Jofra Archer, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan, Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Suryakumar Yadav.
Match Starts at 3:30 pm IST.