The first time Chennai and Mumbai met in this year’s competition was in the opening game. Strange how the two opening games of the competition are mirrored in the playoffs. Nevertheless, Mumbai trounced the Super Kings by 8 wickets after dismissing them for a measly 112 in an innings that just failed to get going. Suresh Raina was the only one to provide any resistance against a misery Indians attack. The Indians knocked off the total without too much bother, Richard Levi registering a well-played half century.
The second encounter was a thriller that went down to the wire. The Super Kings batted first once again and solid middle-order contributions from Raina, Bravo and Dhoni, helped them finish on 173/8 from their allotted 20 overs. The Mumbai Indians were in complete control of the chase with Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma putting together a century stand, before their middle order imploded. This left them needing 16 off the final over, which Dwayne Smith bludgeoned, leading the Indians to a 2 wicket victory. Expect another close one on Wednesday.
Super Kings 1/1
Chennai is the most successful team in the history of the tournament. They have won the last two IPL’s, as well as making the semi-finals in the second and finishing runners-up in the first. Their flawless playoff record continues this season, and one must be inclined to side with the team that has been here so many times before.
|An IPL stalwart: Suresh Raina|
Ravindra Jadeja has been the most useful of the Chennai bowlers, with 11 wickets at an average of 23.00. His slow left armers have proved tough for batsmen to get away. Dwayne Bravo and Ravi Ashwin have been adequate support, but it is clear that the Chennai’s weakness lies in their bowling.
The Mumbai Indians have also had a good run in the tournament over the years. After narrowly missing out on the playoffs in the first IPL, they followed with a poor showing the next year. However, in 2010 they were losing finalists and in 2011 lost in the second qualifier, so they will be hungry for their first IPL title. But as with last year, they still have a long way to go.
The backbone in the batting department for Mumbai this season has been the reliable Rohit Sharma. Although there are others in the team who are flashier or more powerful, Rohit has played in every game and has been a consistent performer. His 419 runs have come at a dependable average of 32.00, he also has three-half centuries and a magnificent century to boot. Others who have starred include the Little Master and Dwayne Smith, who has the ability to turn the game on its head in only a few hefty blows.
Mumbai possess what is probably the best bowler in IPL history. ‘Slinger’ Malinga has derailed many a certain chase with his extraordinary death bowling and toe-breaking yorkers. He has 22 wickets this year at an average of 14.00 with an economy rate of 6.00. It doesn’t get much better than that. Oh, and did I mention that 50% of all the deliveries he has bowled in IPL history were dot balls?
The Eliminator will be hosted at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Expect a run-fest here on Wednesday, as there were over 400 runs scored in the last game played here on Thursday last week. Gayle got a massive hundred and Kohli was sublime in support, seeing Bangalore reach 215/1. The Daredevils fell short on 194/9, a score within itself in a 20 over match.
BEST: Top Super Kings Batsman, Suresh Raina 10/3
Raina is the backbone of the Super Kings batting line-up and has been in sensational form in this year’s competition. A master of the T20 game, his timing and placement is second to none. Expect the left-handed destroyer to cut loose on a ground receptive to his brand of cricket.
VERDICT: Super Kings 1/1
They are the most successful franchise, have a veritable legion of die-hard fans, and most importantly, they have been here before and are a side dreamed up for big matches. With the indomitable Dhoni as captain and with Raina in form, I don’t see the Indians having enough here, despite the two previous victories registered earlier in the competition.
Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
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