Big picture

Their batters have scored at 13.24 an over at death, the best for any team so far in IPL 2021. Their new-ball bowler has picked up the most wickets in the powerplay. As a team, they are on a five-match winning streak. What the Mumbai Indians did last year, the Chennai Super Kings are doing this time around.

The Super Kings had a forgettable 2020 season but their new recruit Moeen Ali has resurrected them in 2021. Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sam Curran have all made vital contributions. And with Faf du Plessis and Deepak Chahar seizing the momentum against and with the new ball respectively, the Super Kings look as formidable as ever.

On the other hand, Mumbai have had a difficult start to their title defence. Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya have been far from their usual destructive bests. Trent Boult has failed to provide breakthroughs with the new ball. The slow and sticky pitches of Chennai didn't help either.

However, they showed signs of recovery in their last game. Playing in Delhi, they registered a seven-wicket win against the Rajasthan Royals. With three wins in six games, they have managed to stay in the top four on the points table. But can they stop the Super Kings' juggernaut?

Likely XIs

Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Krunal Pandya, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Sam Curran, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Lungi Ngidi

Strategy punt

  • Given the number of left-hand batters - Ali, Suresh Raina, Jadeja and Curran - in the Super Kings' line-up, Mumbai could retain Jayant Yadav in the XI, especially when their other two spinners, Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya, bring the ball into the left-handers.

  • Since 2018, MS Dhoni has ransacked 65 runs in 27 balls off Trent Boult. His strike rate of 240.74 against the left-arm seamer is second only to AB de Villiers' 268.42 (minimum ten balls). While Dhoni apparently takes decisions based on instincts than data and may not come out specifically to counter Boult, he does have the upper hand against one half of Mumbai's death-bowling duo.

Stats that matter

  • Since 2019, chasing teams have won seven (including a Super Over win) of the nine IPL games played in Delhi.

  • Mumbai have picked up just three powerplay wicket in six games so far in this season. Only the Sunrisers Hyderabad have fared worse, taking two powerplay wickets from six outings. On the other hand, the Super Kings bowlers have picked up 14 powerplay wickets, the best by any team in the tournament.

  • Gaikwad's powerplay strike rate of 91.11 is the lowest for any batter in IPL 2021. But in the middle overs, nobody has a better strike rate than his 189.65. (Minimum 30 balls in each phase)

  • Among those who have bowled at least four death overs this season, Jasprit Bumrah's economy of 6.54 is the best.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo