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IPL 2019: CSK VS MI-Who were the better team in the

league stages? 

08.05.2019   Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM

The two most successful teams in IPL history have taken the first and second position on the points table this year. After 44 days of non-stop cricket and after 56 absorbing matches, Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians have emerged as the two top teams at the end of the league stage. In the process, CSK has become the only team to reach the playoff stages of all IPL seasons in which they were part of.

The Delhi Capitals with their impressive performance this year has made it to the playoffs after a gap of seven years. Sunrises Hyderabad are fortunate to make it to the playoffs on the basis of their better net run rate after securing a mere 12 points. In fact, this is the first time in IPL history that a team has managed to reach the playoffs with that number.

As CSK and MI gear up to face each other in the first playoffs at Chennai on Tuesday, let us analyze the performances of the two teams to determine which is the better team this season.

# 1 Head – to Head record

Mumbai Indians won both their matches against CSK this season. They trounced the super strong CSK team at home by 37 runs. However, their victory at the lion’s den at Chepauk by a better margin of 46 runs was without MS. Dhoni, Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja in the opposition ranks.

Nonetheless, CSK has won at least one match this season against all opponents except Mumbai. This in itself speaks volumes about Rohit Sharma's side. Hence, on head-to-head record this season, MI has dominated CSK.

# 2. Net Run Rate

At the completion of the league stage, both teams have 18 points each. But Mumbai has a much superior run rate of 0.421 against Chennai Super King's 0.131. In fact, one of the main reasons for CSK’s dip in Net Run Rate was due to the two heavy defeats they suffered at the hands of MI.

But for their big win against Delhi Capitals in their penultimate match, CSK could have been pushed to the third place in the standings. Hence, Mumbai has an upper hand on Net Run Rate too.

# 3. Away record

The superiority of a team can be best judged from their away records. On that count, MI has won four away matches against RCB, SRH, DC & CSK. It is interesting to note that three of those four teams who lost to MI at their home have made it to the last four.

Conversely, CSK has won only three of the seven away matches against KKR, RR and, DC while they lost to RCB at Bangalore by the narrowest of margin.

#4. Contenders for Orange cap

Out of the top 15 run scorers in this year’s IPL, three are from Mumbai. Quinton de Kock(492) is ranked at number four while Rohit Sharma(386) and Hardik Pandya(380) are not far behind.

For CSK, MS Dhoni( 368) is at the 17th position closely followed by Suresh Raina(359) in the 18th position. For CSK it was MS Dhoni and the bowlers doing the damage before Raina and Faf du Plessis jumped into the bandwagon much later.

In the league stages, Dhoni had to play the dual role of consolidating the innings and as well as finishing off the same. Comparatively, Mumbai is better placed with flying starts from De Kock and Rohit Sharma while Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya are doing the finisher’s job to perfection.

Mumbai has been well served by their batsmen compared to CSK.

#5. Contenders for Purple Cap

CSK scored over MI in this respect. Out of the top 15 wicket-takers, four are from CSK. Imran Tahir(21), Deepak Chahar(16), Harbhajan Singh(13) and Ravindra Jadeja(13) have all struck at crucial stages. In fact, it was due to the relentless efforts of the bowlers that CSK could make it to the last four.

Mumbai has only Jasprit Bumrah(17), Lasith Malinga(15) and Hardik Pandya(14) in the same list.

#6. Sixth bowling option

Right through the season, MI played with six regular bowlers while CSK struggled to compete with only five regular bowlers. Suresh Raina bowled just one over in the league stages that too in the very first match. Kedar Jadhav and Shane Watson were never given the ball by MS Dhoni. The lack of sixth bowling option has affected the team balance in a big way.

#7. Selection of team

In spite of their repeated reverses in the second half of the tournament, CSK continued to carry out-of-form players like Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Raydu on their shoulders. By doing so, an in-form player like a Mitchell Santner, who has won a match for his team, has been kept out of the playing XI. On the other hand, Mumbai was swift in dropping out-of-form players like Yuvraj Singh, Evin Lewis, and Ben Cutting. To sum up, though CSK became the first team to qualify for the playoffs this year, they were not at their best more so in the latter half of the tournament. They started off the season in a spectacular fashion registering seven wins from their first eight matches but thereafter have struggled and won only two of the remaining six matches. Right now the momentum is clearly with Mumbai. They have managed to peak at the right time as a team. But CSK has a distinct advantage of playing the qualifier 1 on their home ground and that will make for an interesting match.