HEAD-TO-HEAD All-time meetings: Mumbai Indians W13, Chennai Super Kings W11
Coach: Mahela Jayawardene
Captain: Rohit Sharma
Mumbai are coming of their third IPL title all of which have come in the last five seasons, after winning the competition in 2017 with a solitary 1-run victory against the Pune Rising Supergiants making them the most successful team in IPL history.
Mumbai have won the past 3 matches against CSK, however this form should not be considered too seriously as the last meeting between these two teams was almost three years ago due to Chennai being suspended from the competition. Overall, this is one of the biggest rivalries in IPL history and the two teams.
The Mumbai squad has taken a hit with West Australian Jason Behrendorff ruled out with an ongoing back injury and he has been replaced in the squad by New Zealand International and Sydney Thunder bowler Mitch McClengahan. They do however have an extremely strong squad at their disposal with Bumrah and Cummins spearheading their bowling attack, and a batting line-up that has plenty of depth with all-rounders Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard key to their hopes.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Keen to make an impact, the Chennai Super Kings are making their first appearance back in the IPL since 2015 since being banned from the competition for the last two seasons so they will be looking to make a major impact on their return.
CSK have gathered an impressive squad, bolstered by big name locals including MS Dhoni, Ravi Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay. The squad also hosts a plethora of overseas stars such as Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo but have been dealt a blow with Mitch Santner already ruled out through injury.
Despite Santner’s absence, they still possess two outstanding spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir who are expected to be key men for them on some of these pitches, and Tahir especially comes into this tournament in excellent form.
On paper, the Chennai Super Kings look the superior team and that is largely because of the balance in all areas of their squad. They have a strong batting line-up, and their bowling attack especially looks outstanding with good pace and spin options. The fact that they boast a few quality local internationals such as Jadeja, Dhoni and Raina can only help.
With all that said however, it is impossible to rule out the reigning champions Mumbai, who have a happy knack of winning and will be desperate to start the season well. Unless the talented 18-year-old leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has an impressive tournament, they do lack the quality spin options that CSK possess and that could be a deciding factor. This opener is a tough one to call with Mumbai possessing home advantage though and it is worth being cautious to see who settles the quickest.