Indian Premier League (IPL) is back, officially, and it couldn't ask for a better fixture to mark its return - Chennai Super Kings versus Mumbai Indians - the El Clasico of IPL, as rightfully described by Rohit Sharma once. Ahead of the temporary suspension of the league in May, owing to Covid-19 fears, Kieron Pollard's breathtaking 87* guided the defending champions to a four-wicket win in New Delhi against the three-time champions. Four and a half months later, the two gear up for their 32nd meeting, this time at the Dubai International Stadium, and ahead of the clash of the heavyweights, we take a look at the various match-ups and strategies...
1) Jasprit Bumrah has managed to keep CSK captain MS Dhoni quiet during their IPL encounters, conceding at a run-a-ball in their 56-ball meeting while dismissing him thrice. However, the former Indian captain has the edge over one of Mumbai's death bowlers, Trent Boult, scoring 78 off 38 while being dismissed twice.
2) Rohit Sharma has returned to his impressive best in the powerplay this season, scoring 153 runs in 120 balls while being dismissed twice - one via run out and the other by Chris Morris. CSK's familiar powerplay weapon, Deepak Chahar, could be a good option against the Mumbai captain, having dismissed him twice in the powerplay in 39 balls while conceding 48 runs. In the previous game against CSK, Rohit scored 13 off 10 against Chahar and 18 off 9 against the other bowlers during the powerplay.
3) Boult hasn't been as effective with the new ball as he was last year, picking only four wickets in seven innings at an economy rate of 7.12. However, he can be used against CSK opener Faf du Plessis, if the batsman is selected for the tie. Boult has had the better of the South African twice in 40 deliveries in T20 cricket, conceding 37 runs.
4) When it comes to match-ups, no player has been used more strategically by a franchise than Jayant Yadav. He has made only seven appearances for Mumbai Indians and has been brought into the XI only against left-hand heavy sides - picked two wickets against lefties at an economy rate of 6.79 compared to one wicket against righties at an economy rate of 7.22. CSK have have four lefties in their batting order - Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran. But Rahul Chahar has improved against this batting variety this season, picking six wickets at 16.8 with an economy rate of 6.81. Last season, he picked only two wickets against left-handers, conceding 8.98 runs per over.