IPL 2020 Preview and Prediction: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings

IPL 2020 Preview and Prediction: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings

The crazy cricket season is set to begin in India with the IPL 2020 tournament ready to launch on March 29, when defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) host Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The IPL betting odds clearly favour MI to beat CSK and begin their title defence on an explosive note.

IPL Betting Odds

Odds of 5/6 are quoted by various bookmakers on a probable MI win as against odds of 1/1 quoted on a CSK win. In this article we will review the relative strengths of both sides and evaluate whether the quoted odds are justified.

MI and CSK have the best records in the IPL

CSK, under M, S. Dhoni’s helm, established themselves as the best side in the IPL when they won the title in 2010. But after they made a successful title defence in 2011, Dhoni’s wards had to wait till 2018 before they could lay their hands on the IPL trophy again. In between, consequent to a revelation that the team principal had a nexus with bookies, the side underwent a ban for two years, in 2016 and 2017, only to return triumphant the next year. In 10 appearances in the IPL, CSK have been runners up on six occasions to add to their three successful title bids.

After several years of title drought, MI began to develop a winning habit under the captaincy of Harbhajan Singh, when he led the side to victory in the Champions League T20 competition in 2011. Two short years later, in 2013, MI finally won the coveted IPL title on skipper Rohit Sharma’s watch. Sharma helped his side to three more titles in 2015, 2017 and 2019, to displace CSK as the most successful team of the IPL.

How the Sides Compare

Mumbai Indians

The probable eleven that will do duty in the upcoming season for MI are Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Chahar, JaspritBumrah, Trent Boult, and Lasith Malinga. The only possible change could be the replacement of Malinga by Nathan Coulter-Nile.

MI also have good bench strength comprising the likes of Sherfane Rutherford, Mitchell McClenaghan, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Saurabh Tiwary, in addition to young acquisitions in the auction, such as Mohsin Khan, Digvijay Deshmukh, and Prince Balwant Rai Singh. The underlying assumption is that such star players as Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya will be match fit before the IPL season begins. While Pandya has been out of action for several months, Sharma’s injury woes began more recently, on the India tour of New Zealand.

Chennai Super Kings

CSK acquired Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, and R Sai Kishore, in the IPL auction. Of these, Curran and Hazlewoodappear the most likely to make it to the playing eleven in the 2020 season. Apart from skipper Dhoni, the strong nucleus of the team revolves around the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja. Several in-form internationals such as Shane Watson, Faf du Pleissis, Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi add to the overall strength of this formidable squad.

Head to head

MI have a clear edge in an h2h comparison with CSK. In 28 matches played between the sides, MI have emerged winners on 17 occasions, losing the remaining 11. Curiously, as many as four of MI’s wins came in 2019, when the sides met twice in league matches, the third time in a qualifier, and on the fourth occasion in the final.

That final turned out to be a nail biter, with MI edging CSK out by the barest of margins and winning by a run. The last time CSK beat MI was in 2018, when the sides shared honours with one league win each. Prior to that, in 2015, the sides met four times, with MI emerging victorious on three occasions.

Prediction: MI will beat CSK

Both MI and CSK did well at the latest IPL auction, helping reinforce their squads with good bench strength. Consider the addition of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Lynn to an already strong side, and you will see why MI are ahead of the rest of the pack. As season 2019 proved, the defending champions are well served in all departments of the game.

They bat deep and boast a bowling line up of four front-line bowlers and two all-rounders in the form of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, both of whom can bowl a full quota of overs if needed. Additionally, they have some of the best fielders, in the form of the Pandya brothers and that man Pollard again.

The return from injury of JaspritBumrahmust send shivers down the collective spines of rival teams and if Hardik Pandya gets back to action, he could prove the difference between MI and the other teams in the fray. The in-form Trent Boult will be looking forward to helping Bumrah slay the opposition.

While CSK are no pushovers, their core players are not getting any younger, starting with skipper Dhoni. Add Shane Watson, Faf du Pleissis, Harbhajan Singh, Vijay, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, and Imran Tahir to the list of players who are all on the wrong side of 30, and you can understand the depth of the problem. MI are clearly the stronger side, and the result of the match on March 29th will reflect that difference.