NEW DELHI: Mindgames will come to the fore when MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings lock horns with Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians in what promises to be a high-voltage clash at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.
Chennai have always been strong at home. But Mumbai have many match-winners in their ranks, and will put up a stiff fight.
“It will be a high-profile game. Both have exciting line-ups. Chennai are always strong at home, so Mumbai will have to work harder. It will be a battle between Mumbai’s batting and Chennai’s bowling,” said former India cricketer and noted coach Chandrakant Pandit. “Anything less than 170 will be gettable for Chennai. Mumbai need to out-bat them.”
Against Hyderabad in their last game, Chennai spinners Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja were not at their best. Strike spinner Tahir went wicket-less.
So it will all boil down to how good Chennai bowlers perform on Friday. “The 12 overs that Bhajji, Jaddu and Imran bowl will be key to their success. Bhajji and Tahir have the experience. Jadeja needs to be more accurate and give the ball more air to get purchase. He needs to get breakthroughs to compliment the other two spinners.”
“Dwayne Bravo needs to bowl tidy lines at the death. He should not experiment with his slower ones. They have become predictable. He needs to stick to his strengths.”
According to Pandit, both Dhoni’s and Rohit’s captaincy will come to the fore in this clash. “Captaincy is an art. Dhoni is a master. He knows to how and where to use his bowlers. Despite not having a tearaway pacer, he knows how to get the best out of the rest.
“Rohit goes with the flow. When things do not go his way, he gets tensed. But he has improved a lot from the first time he led Mumbai. He has to lead by example and come up with a big knock.”
Chennai batting coach Mike Hussey said his team was not taking Mumbai lightly. “They have great depth in batting. We respect them a lot. They are particularly dangerous at the back-end. Guys like Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya are good hitters. Our bowlers have of late put in a lot of work into bowling at the death. It is going to be a good challenge. It is important to prepare well, plan well, and mostly importantly, execute well.”
Hussey said that Dhoni will be leading their team in the clash, even though they have the option of resting key players after making the playoff cut. “From what I know about him is that he doesn’t want to miss any matches. He loves playing for Chennai. Chepauk is very close to his heart, and he wants to see to that the team gets success. Trying to get him to rest is very difficult.”