04.04.2019 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAMThe Chennai Super Kings are sitting pretty at the top of the IPL points table with 3 wins from 3 matches. But so far they have played against weaker teams like RCB, DC, and RR. Their real test will start from their fourth match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium today. CSK's next two matches are against the much improved Kings XI Punjab, and the ever-dangerous KKR.
CSK vs MI – Head to HeadCSK and MI have locked horns against each other 26 times in the IPL, with MI having the upper hand over CSK, having notched up 14 victories in comparison to the Chennai outfit's 12 wins. As far as recent clashes go, Mumbai have won 4 of the last 5 encounters between the two sides.
At the Wankhede stadium where today’s match is going to be played, Mumbai has an advantage of 5-3. So, everything points out to a Mumbai win in today’s match against CSK. Hence, proper team selection is vital for CSK if they have to get the better of Mumbai.
CSK should make a minimum of 2 changes from the team that played against RR last Sunday.
#1 Faf du Plessis for Mitchell SantnerMitchell Santner had a poor IPL debut against Rajasthan Royals where he conceded 26 runs in 2 overs. Besides, the Wankhede wicket traditionally helps fast bowlers. Hence, Santner would be excess baggage for CSK against the Mumbai Indians.
CSK would be better off replacing Santner with the South African captain Faf du Plessis. Faf has good memories of Wankhede when he singlehandedly took his team to victory in the first qualifier against SRH last year and will be an invaluable addition to CSK's middle-order or at the top, opening the innings with Shane Watson.
#2 Mohit Sharma for Ambati RayaduAmbati Rayadu, CSK’s hero in last year’s IPL, is yet to take off this year. In three innings, he has scored 28, 5 and 1. Every time when he tried to force the pace, Ambati Rayadu got out to almost identical dismissals.
He has to be replaced by Mohit Sharma who would be a better fast bowling option at the Wankhede. Besides, Mohit gives CSK that extra bit of cushion in the death overs with his clever variation in pace.
Faf du Plessis should open the batting with Shane Watson and Mohit Sharma should fit into the team as the fourth seamer after Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, and Dwayne Bravo.
The presence of Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja should tender balance to CSK's bowling unit. In the absence of Santner, the lower order batting would look a little bit thinner but the top order should take the responsibility of scoring the runs.
It is a pity that Harbhajan Singh might be kept out after his brilliant performances in the first two matches. But he should be back for CSK’s next home match against KXIP at the expense of one of the fast bowlers.