Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL, Dubai April 24, 2014

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Match facts

April 25, 2014
Start time 1830 local (1430 GMT, 2000 IST)

Play 04:15
Agarkar: Worst time for Mumbai to play CSK

Big Picture

Chennai Super Kings have been one of the busier teams in the UAE, and on Friday will play their third game inside five days. However, they may not be complaining too much about the short turnaround time, given that they have built up a winning momentum after their last two games. After steamrolling Delhi Daredevils, they were stretched by Rajasthan Royals while batting. Their bowlers stepped up for the second time after a horror opening game against Kings XI Punjab, suggesting that they are developing their all-round game early in the tournament.

Mumbai Indians on the other hand have had the last five days to regroup and reassess their poor start to the tournament, having dropped both games with underwhelming performances. Their batting was a letdown on both occasions and the problems begin at the top. Michael Hussey was never an explosive starter while at Chennai Super Kings. He could afford to be the steady accumulator due to the presence of big hitters lower down the order who would routinely shore up the innings. While Hussey is yet to find his feet in his new franchise, it wouldn't be fair to lay the blame on him.

Mumbai have explosive hitters down the order in the form of Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, but the lack of contributions from them has compounded their problems, as scores of 122 and 115 suggest. Even their experienced seam attack of Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga need a fighting total to defend, as was the case against Royal Challengers Bangalore, where 115 was still inadequate after having the opposition down at 17 for 3.

Players to watch

Corey Anderson was Mumbai's second-most expensive buy at the auction, behind Hussey, at INR 4.5 crore. Though it's still early days for him in the IPL, he is yet to show what he's capable of. He played eight balls for 2 before he was bowled by Sunil Narine and against Royal Challengers he made 18 off 19 with two fours. He has the power to clear the big boundaries in Dubai. Mumbai need him to step up as a lower-order finisher.

Super Kings have preferred to go in with a more inexperienced Indian seam attack comprising Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey instead of the more experienced Ashish Nehra. Mohit was economical against Daredevils, conceding 17 off three overs and against Royals he bowled two overs for 13. Mohit has been difficult to get away when MS Dhoni stands up to the stumps, which suggests that the captain uses him as a run-saving option. Mohit said that the back of a length deliveries work better in the Dubai pitch, which wasn't the easiest to bat on in Super Kings' last game.

Stats and trivia

  • Mumbai Indians are the only team against whom Chennai Super Kings have a negative win-loss record in the IPL. Super Kings have lost 9 games against Mumbai while only winning 6, out of 15 games
  • The highest run-scorer and the highest wicket-taker in matches between these teams are from Super Kings. Raina has scored 414 runs, while Dwayne Bravo has taken 20 wickets (though he is out of this tournament).

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo