Chennai v Mumbai, IPL 2013, 1st qualifier, Delhi May 20, 2013

Big boys kick off big week


Match facts

May 21, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

After 72 league matches - mismatches, in some cases - we're into the final week of the IPL. The most important week. The week Chennai Super Kings have negotiated five times previously, with more success than failure; they're the only team to progress past the league stage in every edition of the IPL so far, losing once in the semis, finishing runners-up twice (including last year), and winning the title in 2010 and 2011. Of the 10 playoff matches they've contested, they've won seven. They will go into the first qualifier knowing just how to win these big games, and with the cushion of having a second chance at making the final should they need it - both huge pluses.

But, in Mumbai Indians, Super Kings face the only IPL line-up that is arguably even stronger than their own. While the two teams match-up on the batting front - both in terms of proven performers and power-hitting - Mumbai hold the clear edge in the bowling department. This season, especially, Mumbai's bowlers have been lethal as a unit (as opposed to Lasith Malinga being the single biggest threat), with Mitchell Johnson swinging it at pace, Harbhajan Singh striking consistently while being economical, and Pragyan Ojha and Dhawal Kulkarni providing reliable support. They've already demolished Super Kings' line-up once this season, rolling them for 79 - the tournament's lowest total - at the Wankhede.

Both teams are coming off losses after seemingly letting their guard down in inconsequential matches, but before being tripped up in Dharamsala Mumbai had five comfortable wins in a row. Super Kings, on the other hand, have an up-and-down record of late after posting an record-equalling seven consecutive IPL victories earlier in the tournament. That has prompted talk of them having peaked too early.

Both teams have injury concerns to key players: Albie Morkel and Sachin Tendulkar. If Morkel is fit, he is likely to slot in as one of three overseas seam-bowling allrounders for Super Kings. If Tendulkar is fit, Mumbai will have to take a tough call - his replacement, Aditya Tare, has made two handy contributions, scoring rapidly as opener for a team that has got off to slow starts more often than not. Ambati Rayudu, who has 196 runs in 16 matches at 17.81, could be the one to miss out.

Form guide

Chennai Super Kings: LWLWL (most recent first)
Mumbai Indians: LWWWW

In the spotlight

M Vijay has had a woeful IPL 2013 so far. He came into the tournament having enjoyed much success in India's home Test series against Australia, but his form has fallen away rapidly. More than his stats - 271 runs at 22.58 in 13 games - it has been the manner in which he has batted that has inspired very little confidence: he has swung and missed, scratched around, and hardly ever dominated the bowling. Against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday, Super Kings seemed more interested in allowing Vijay to bat his way back into form than going after the steep target in the eight-over shootout. The team, and Vijay, will be quietly hoping for a repeat of last year, when he followed up a forgettable league stage with 113 off 58 balls in the qualifiers.

Lasith Malinga, by his standards, has had an average IPL. He has not been in contention for the purple cap at any point, and is only third on Mumbai Indians' bowling charts in terms of wickets taken. But his record of 17 wickets at 21.05, with an economy rate of 6.71, is far from poor and it would be silly to underestimate him; it is still likely to be Malinga who causes the most telling damage if he gets those killer yorkers right.

Stats and trivia

  • Mumbai are comfortably ahead in the head-to-head against Super Kings, winning eight off 13 games. In their last six encounters, Super Kings have won only once. But, revealingly, Super Kings have won both the playoff games between the two
  • On Saturday, Malinga became the first bowler to 100 IPL wickets. Harbhajan Singh and Albie Morkel, with 73 wickets apiece, are joint-third behind Malinga and Kings XI's Piyush Chawla for the most wickets taken for a single team in the IPL


"I have been given the role of bowling in the Powerplays. But the only instruction I was given was to stick to whatever I have been doing so far, not think too much and try to remain as blank as I can. The coach and captain told me that whatever I have done on the cricket field so far has brought me into the IPL and the same will take me forward in my career."
Chennai Super Kings fast bowler Mohit Sharma defines his role in the team

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shiv on May 21, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    One thing I have noticed is that once a team has won the IPL, they no longer show the same hunger to win it again. We could see the hunger KKR had last time, same with MI and RCB. Its almost like, win it at least once and cool off for a couple of seasons. Of the four teams in the playoffs, only MI has not won it, so they will be giving everything they have, add SRT factor to it. They are the most desperate ones.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    My CSK team for remaining matches: hussey, du plessis, raina, dhoni, jadeja, bravo, badrinath, aparajit, morris, ashwin, sharma

  • Jason on May 21, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    My MI xi : Sachin, Tare, Karthik, Rohit, Pollard, Rayudu, Coulter-Nile, Jhonson, Harbhajan, Malinga, Ojha... If Tare falls early they can try Coulter-Nile as a pinch hitter.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    I am surprised to see that writer equates the batting power of MI with CSK. CSK is a far better batting unit. MI has own more match batting first where as CSK with strong batting line up prefers to chase. Let us see the team winning toss prefer to play to his strength or want to minimize opponent's strength. With a small ground and ball coming to bat, I would go with CSK to win the game. I expect MI to win both the games in Kolkata and win the cup.

  • MANOJ on May 21, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    Even though MI looks a bit stronger on paper, but its a very close affair in reality and a couple of good/bad overs can shift the momentum either way. Hoping it to be an exciting turn up today. I'm counting on Dwayne Bravo, Have made him my Trump in my Fantasy team beacuse of his all round abilities. Expecting a run feast today !!! Come on Bravo !!!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    For CSK to win, some shuffling should happen in their order. Move Vijay out & bring Badri to open. In place of Vijay, bring in Anirudh or Aparajith. If Albie is fit, he shall replace Holder's position. Rest all are looking good. And for death bowling, someone who sticks to their line need to be retained.

    For Mumbai to win, with their stronger bowling in place (provided Malinga is NOT targeted by Men in Yellow), if they bat up with some decent contribution from the top order till Pollard, final's berth shall be confirmed easily.

  • santosh on May 21, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    Surprisingly, Steyn stands on 5th place in an analysis of IPL 6 bowling. 3 Indicators were taken namely - Wickets per Innings, Economy Rate and Strike Rate. Subsequently, those ballers were filtered having 10 or more wickets and an economy rate of 7 or less, thus 13 ballers were available for further analysis. In each case top and bottom ranker were provided a score of 13 and 1 respectivelywith other teams getting in between as per their standing. On adding the scores of all 3 indicators, the result was astonishing! The ballers in decreasing order are - Sunil Narain (35), Mohit Sharma (34), Faulkner (33), Amit Mishra (26) and Dale Steyn and Rampaul both securing 22 points!!! Look at the unsung achievement of young Mohit Sharma!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    my mi xi sachin tare rayudu rohit dk maxwell pollard johnson mallinga bhaji ojha

  • Thirumoorthy on May 21, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    As always CSK is going to rock today. Csk must bat second if they won the toss. Its time to prove against mumbai. Come on CSK show to mumbai ''Who the boss is?''. As per my instinction, today Raina is going to make the mark with the support of Badri. Expected team... no change...

  • venkat on May 21, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Prasanta Tripathy, your comment about Dhoni vs Rohit's captaincy skills may be right, but there simply is no evidence whatsoever to back it up. So, in that sense, it's a comment with no content. Dhoni is a highly proven commodity both as captain (in all formats) and as a player. Rohit is a nobody who has squandered far too many opportunities as a player, and has captained only a handful of MI matches with mixed results. Cricketing brain? -- I am afraid there is no comparison between Dhoni and Rohit.