Mumbai Indians are favourites to start the season with a win
Defending champions, Mumbai Indians (MI), have strengthened their core team with some valuable additions in the IPL auctions and as they take on runners up from last season, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), in the 2020 season opener at Abu Dhabi in UAE, MI are favourites at odds of 1.71.
Chennai Super Kings, as is the case in most seasons, have retained their core group like Mumbai but unlike the latter, their big players like Shane Watson, MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis are well past their prime and no longer active in International cricket. To beat Mumbai, they will need to play out of their skins and plot a good way to strangle the hosts. Despite their pretty good record in IPL history, Chennai’s odds of beating the defending champions in this year’s opening game is 2.05.
Noteworthy, MS Dhoni, after his international retirement announcement that caused a huge ruckus, will play and captain the Chennai Super Kings.
Mumbai Indians have a robust crop of players including the likes of Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Chris Lynn, all of whom have terrific recent records and international numbers to count upon. Their success in recent years have stemmed from an ability to produce multiple match-winners irrespective of conditions. Chennai, on the other hand, have thrived on the spin friendly pitches at Chepauk in Chennai, but do not hold the same threat on fresh surfaces which have a bit of pace on it. The Abu Dhabi surface will test them early.
Mumbai Indians have won their last 5 matches against Chennai Super Kings
The 2019 season saw four encounters between CSK and MI where the Mumbai franchise won on each of the four occasions. In 2018, both sides won one game apiece in the two matches in the league phase with Mumbai Indians winning the last game between the two in that season.
Overall, Mumbai Indians have won 18 of the 30 matches between these sides, including eight of the last 10 matches between them in the league. Interestingly, even at Chepauk, considered Chennai’s fortress, MI have won six and lost just twice.
RECOMMENDED BET: 1.71 on Mumbai Indians to beat Chennai Super Kings as the new pitch and a depleted CSK team should aid MI.
Suresh Raina (730 runs) and Rohit Sharma (646 runs) are the all-time highest run-scorers in matches between these two while Lasith Malinga (37 wickets) and Dwayne Bravo (32 wickets) are the leading wicket-takers.
Keep an eye on…
Pitch and conditions: While the surface is supposedly slow in UAE, in Abu Dhabi on a fresh pitch in the first match of the tournament, we may not see as much turn. It might be aligned to suit Mumbai Indians’ strengths – big hitters and strong pace bowlers. Why it works against Chennai Super Kings is because they thrive on the exact opposite – spin friendly conditions, which the pitches will ultimately turn into. Chennai’s best chance will be to try and chase down a target if they were to win the toss.
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