Five months after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) indefinitely postponed the 13th season of the Indian Premier League leaving cricket fans in dismay, IPL 2020 is all set to kick off in the UAE amid all the glitz and razzmatazz. Yes it will be an IPL unlike any other - away from India, no fans and with players training and living inside a bio-secure bubble - but it is certain to bring a "much-needed glimmer of hope in hostile 2020". And it all kicks off with the El Clasico of IPL tournament - Mumbai Indians against Chennai Super Kings.
Can Mumbai Indians make it five in a row against Chennai Super Kings?
Chennai Super Kings have played the most against Mumbai Indians in IPL history - playing 30 games in all - while also recording the most number of defeats against Rohit Sharma's men. CSK have dominated every other franchise in IPL their best win percentage coming against Sunrisers Hyderabad (76.93) and having almost 60 per cent winning record against all seven franchises. However, against Mumbai, Chennai seemed to have struggled a lot - losing 18 of their 30 encounters. Mumbai Indians now stand on the verge of making it six in a row on Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi having secured victories in all their four meetings last season which had ended with a one-run victory in the finale.
How IPL teams have fared against CSK
|Kings XI Punjab||22||13||9||59.09091|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||23||14||8||60.86957|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||25||16||8||64|
Mumbai's struggle away from home...
Although Mumbai Indians were among the few teams last season to have recorded a positive away-from-home record, winning five and losing three, Rohit's men have always struggled each time they travelled outside India. In 2009, when IPL was staged in South Africa owing to clash in dates with the General Elections, Mumbai failed to qualify for the playoffs. They had finished seventh in the table winning only five of the 14 matches. And in 2014, they recorded an embarrassing winless record in the UAE leg of the tournament.
Chennai, on the other hand, who have a decent 50 per cent winning record away from home in IPL history, have been fairly impressive away from India as well. In 2009, they had finished second in the league stage winning eight and losing five in a bid to make it to the playoffs. And in 2014, they recorded the second-most number of wins in the UAE leg, losing only one of their alloted five matches.
- Since 2016, teams batting first have won only three of the nine T20 matches played in the UAE with an average first innings score round about 140.
- Deepak Chahar is also another bowler who will be well-suited with the slowish nature of the UAE tracks. He will be operating in the powerplays where he has taken 25 wickets in the last two seasons at an economy rate of 7.33. Hence, he will be a key player for CSK to make early inroads but Chennai will have to be wary of a threatning middle-order Mumbai lineup which comprises of Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers who all have a strike rate of over 146. Moreover, Pollard and Hardik recorded a death-over strike rate of 156 and 191 respectively last season.