With Jadeja out, Mumbai Indians look to pack off Chennai Super Kings

On the face of it, there’s nothing much to this prestige fixture of the IPL. But Mumbai Indians, who are in the middle of their worst season in IPL, have one strong motivation – sending arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings packing. CSK, with four wins from 11 games, will be eliminated as it is if both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers (now on 14) reach 16 points. But given the nature of T20 cricket, there’s no guarantee that both the teams will reach that mark and there is still a sense of hope among CSK fans that one team may make it to Play-offs with seven wins.

CSK’s predicament should give Rohit Sharma’s boys the determination to give their best in this IPL Clasico and extinguish that flicker of hope of their bitter rivals. The fact that CSK will be without Ravindra Jadeja, who is nursing a rib injury and has been ruled out of the IPL, should give Mumbai that sense of hope going into this game at Wankhede Stadium.

There’s another added incentive for Mumbai Indians – the rediscovery of Jasprit Bumrah’s form. The paceman was outstanding in their last game against Kolkata Knight Riders – albeit in a losing cause – and if he can get going, the CSK top-order can be put under pressure.

CSK, on their part, are also a creaking ship, over-reliant on the form of their openers Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. The duo won them two out of the last four matches and Bumrah has to ensure that they don’t get going. The good thing about Conway and Ruturaj is that they don’t take unnecessary risks, play cricketing shots, and suddenly pile on the pressure.

The MI attack, chopping and changing every day, doesn’t have much depth other than Bumrah to put CSK under pressure if the top two CSK batters get going.

The Mumbai batting has been equally inconsistent and it may be a better option for Rohit to bat first on the Wankhede pitch, which is becoming difficult to bat on as the tournament progresses. Dhoni, too, would be aware of the fact that it is easier to put Mumbai batting under pressure with a half-decent score on the board – just that the CSK skipper is a bit of stickler for chasing in T20 cricket.