Tendulkar and Dhoni, this time on opposite sides
Friday, April 22, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
It is Tendulkar versus Dhoni at the Wankhede. It's only been 20 days since Dhoni catapulted that six into those very stands, sending a billion people into raptures, and reducing the battle-hardened Tendulkar to tears of joy. It's only been 20 days since these men collapsed into each others' arms, exultant at the end of an exhausting and rewarding campaign. Even the peerless manufacturers of IPL hype won't begin to suggest that game 25 is going to be a shade on that night. However, Tendulkar knows he has unfinished business.
Mumbai have begun the season well, winning three games without breaking a sweat. Brendon McCullum and Co. handed them a shock defeat, but otherwise they have not been tested at all. It was exactly how they went through the last edition as well, before Dhoni's yellow brigade pipped them in the final. A win tomorrow won't avenge that reversal, but could throw a huge spanner on Chennai's works as the season heads into the middle stages.
Chennai's worries, as always, are on the bowling front. Tim Southee and Albie Morkel have been unpredictable, but the spinners have been a bigger letdown. R Ashwin's lines have been too close to leg-stump, while Shadab Jakati has struggled to land two balls on the same spot. To add to Chennai's woes, the batting misfired in the middle overs against Kochi, potentially costing them the rain-affected game. Dhoni has sparked several turnarounds before, both for Chennai and for the other team that he leads. He won't mind the fact that this time his side will go in as underdogs.
If Harbhajan Singh is fit, he is likely to come in for either Ali Murtaza or Abu Nechim. Both were impressive against Pune, though Murtaza, being a spinner, will be a like-for-like replacement. Davy Jacobs could return, relegating James Franklin to the bench. There's been a lot of talk surrounding Lasith Malinga, and it will be interesting to see if he can retain his focus on shattering stumps and toes.
Jakati's figures from the last three games read 8.1-0-94-0. Will Chennai drop him, given the lack of turn on the Wankhede track?
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.
In the spotlight
Doug Bollinger turned up after a long injury lay-off, and immediately settled into a lovely rhythm against Kochi. His ability to slant the ball away from the right hander and bring it back in without a visible change in action, could set up an interesting tussle with Sachin Tendulkar.
Last year, playing in a different shade of blue, Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds were the prime movers in the Deccan Chargers middle order. So far they have hardly got a hit this season, and will be itching to flex their muscles against Chennai.
- Suresh Raina leads the list of run-getters in IPL history, with 1487 runs. Tendulkar is 81 runs behind
- Sachin Tendulkar is 11 runs away from regaining the orange cap. M Vijay is Chennai's highest scorer this season, but he is only 12th on the overall list
"There is a real anomaly in Duckworth/Lewis, it is rubbish for Twenty20. When you don't get extra runs from D/L method, it is quite a big disadvantage."
Stephen Fleming believes rain cost Chennai the game against Kochi, but there won't be any rain in Mumbai
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo