The two most successful teams in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI), will face off in the Qualifier 1 of 2019 season at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.
Both the teams have won the world's most prestigious T20 cricket league three times each, and the winner of the qualifier will have a direct shot winning an unprecedented fourth title. So, brace up for a blockbuster clash!
What happened so far?
Rohit Sharma-led MI have completed a league double over MS Dhoni's CSK, by 37 runs in Mumbai and 46 runs in Chennai, to extend their head-to-head lead to 15-11. The record at the venue also favour the visitors, 4-2. Meaning, the so-called fortress Chennai doesn't intimidate the warriors from Mumbai.
But in the knock-outs, CSK have a slender lead of 4-3, including three finals in 2010 (won by CSK), 2013 and 2015 (both won by MI).
Date: May 7 (Tuesday)
Time: 7:30 PM IST, toss at 7:00 PM
Venue: M A Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
Live Telecast: Sports Star Network
Live Streaming: Hotstar
CSK were handed a six-wicket defeat by Kings XI Punjab (CSK) in their last league outing at Mohali, which underlined their patchy form this season. Despite finishing second in the league standing, CSK's campaign this season so far has relied on the mercurial Dhoni and spinners, with the likes of Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina only contributing with the bat in the last few matches.
But the defending champions will have the advantage of playing at home. And they will be fired up to exact revenge against MI. Except for that 46-run defeat, CSK have won all their matches at Chepauk this season.
For MI, as usual, ended the league stage in a strong note to top the table. But they will be aware of the task at hand. If they manage to beat CSK again, it will go down in history as one of their finest moment will further bolster their confidence.
The losers will, however, have a second chance in Qualifier 2 on May 10, to be played against the winners of Eliminator between Delhi Capitals (DC) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH).
MS Dhoni and Imran Tahir for CSK
All eyes will be on Dhoni. He is CSK's leading run scorer (368 from 12 matches with three fifties). With an unreliable top order, what Dhoni does with the bat will have a direct bearing on the result.
On a traditionally sluggish Chepauk wicket, Imran Tahir has thrived with leg spin. The Lahore-born spinner has 21 wickets, the second most this season after Kagiso Rabada (25). With Harbhajan Singh, he forms a potent spin attack.
Krunal Pandya and Lasith Malinga for MI
Krunal Pandya is the second most valuable player of the season, behind Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) Andre Russell. The all-rounder can win the match single-handedly.
Legendary Lasith Malinga will play a decisive role. It will be interesting to see how skipper Rohit utilises his four overs.
CSK: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dhruv Shorey, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir
MI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
CSK: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan, Scott Kuggeleijn.
MI: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Anmolpreet Singh, Siddhesh Lad, Ankul Roy, Evin Lewis, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ben Cutting, Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare, Rasikh Salam, Barinder Sran, Jayant Yadav, Beuran Hendricks and Lasith Malinga.