The Indian Premier League is off back to Delhi again on Saturday for the heavyweight clash between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and the league leaders Chennai Super Kings – the two most successful teams in IPL history.
Chennai look like they are the total opposite of what they were last season, whereas the Mumbai title defence hasn’t really caught fire just yet but you get the feeling they are bubbling along and ready to heat up.
There was an inkling that the Mumbai Indians would have been delighted to get away from the struggles of Chennai and that was certainly the case in their first match here in Delhi. They will hope the pitches will continue to play as well as they have so far and if they do then there is plenty of life left in the Mumbai Indians, particularly with their last five matches coming in Kolkata and Bangalore which are grounds which should really suit them.
The big thing was how much more suited to these Delhi conditions their batting looked. They chased down 171 against the Rajasthan Royals with the minimum of fuss and there is still probably more to come from that unit as well. The flip side was that their spinners weren’t quite as in control of the matches but I suspect the Mumbai hierarchy would accept that trade off as when their powerful batting can scare the opposition they are a very dangerous outfit.
Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings just seemed to carry on from where they left off in Mumbai in their opening match here in Delhi. It probably suited them more to come from Mumbai conditions than their opponents in that game Sunrisers who had been in Chennai but even so you still have to perform. Chennai actually showed a bit of character in that match as well because Kane Williamson looked to have taken the game away from them in the end overs.
This Chennai side are building up plenty of confidence in their batting which is key. They never really got going with the bat last season but Faf du Plessis is in fine form while the addition to the ranks of Moeen Ali and the return of Suresh Raina has made them look a lot stronger in that department. Their bowling went round the park a little in the last game but in the main they are taking early wickets and restricting sides nicely.
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Rohit Sharma struggled to adapt to the conditions here in Delhi in the first game but he has had long enough to get his head around that and his battle against the new ball bowling of Deepak Chahar could be key to which team comes out on top in the match.
The same thing goes with Faf du Plessis expect he was in good touch here in the previous game. If he can win the battle against Trent Boult at the top of the innings then you would think with the Mumbai spinners struggling for control in the last game here, Chennai will be on top in the game.
There is every reason to believe we are in for a high scoring match here. Both sides conceded 170 in their first matches on this ground against sides whose batting had been a little flaky going into those outings, while both chased down those scores with consummate ease and more than a fair bit in hand. The pitches have played very well so far in Delhi but the really telling thing has been the lightning speed of the outfield.
That makes me think that the 42.5 boundaries line is there for getting after. Both these sides now have plenty of power in their top four and they have a couple of in form hitters to come after that so if they build a platform and survive the new ball then the boundaries should keep on coming throughout both innings. I wouldn’t normally take a 42.5 boundaries line but the speed of the outfield here will account for 2-3 in each innings which should make this line accessible.
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