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IPL-13 takes off with high-octane ‘El Clasico’ clash!

Saturday, September 19, 2020 • Tamil Comments


IPL Carnival

Preview: CSK Vs MI

IPL-13 takes off with high-octane ‘El Clasico’ clash!

Finally, the ‘big day’ is here: IPL-13 is to kick off on Saturday night in UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi! Last year’s finalists – winner Mumbai Indians (MI) and runners-up Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are to clash in the high-octane opening encounter.

IPL has always been a crowd-puller but this year’s event has generated more excitement as it takes place in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket-crazy Indians would undoubtedly back the tournament with their massive support as they are happy that the annual event is not canceled but only held at a place far away from India. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah would be the three venues to host the tourney.

Held usually from mid-April till end-May, IPL now takes place after getting postponed for five months. Rohit Sharma-led MI and MS Dhoni-led CSK have won the titles four and three times (respectively) so far, thus dominating the trophy’s 12-year long history. Besides MI and CSK, the tournament has six other teams including Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Delhi Capitals (DC) vying for top honours for the next 53 days, leading to the finals to be held on 10th November.

Archrivals lock horns

CSK and MI happen to be the toughest opponents for each other; both the teams have faced contrasting situations leading to the tournament. CSK will be missing the services of two of its match-winners: Suresh Raina and ‘Turbanator’ Harbhajan Singh. Top run-getter Raina’s absence puts the onus on MSD to perform ‘specially’ each time he steps out to the middle in this tournament. One or two among Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir, Saikishore would have to step in and make it count.

Will MSD shine again?

Tomorrow’s game will also be MSD’s first outing since the (un)forgettable run-out in last year’s ODI world cup semi-final against New Zealand; With Dhoni’s rarest of rare run-outs, India lost the match and exited the tournament, making this Dhoni’s last international match. For a man known who runs like a hare and finishes matches with booming sixes, it is quite ironical that his last match had him getting run-out and not contributing to the team’s success. All eyes would be on MSD though he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Shane Watson, Rayudu, du Plessis and Sam Billings would have to bat very well to help CSK’s campaign.

Bowling supremacy

Tahir, Chawla and Jadega would have to deliver the goods in the spin department for CSK. It is widely believed that MSD’s astute captaincy and strategy-forming capability would be tested to the core in the very first match itself.

Many a time, MI has been served greatly by its batters including opening greats Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock besides Kieron Pollary, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare and Saurabh Tiwary. Despite Lasith Malinga’s absence, MI still has pacers Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson and Mitchell McCleanagan besides spinners Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav.

Sluggish pitch

Going by past records, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed cricket stadium is not exactly full of runs. Average score of team batting first in T20 fixtures held here during the past 18 months is a more 140.

Expected playing 11:

CSK: Watson, Rayudu, du Plessis, MSD, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir

MI: Rohit Sharma, de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishen, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Boult and Bumrah

Players to watch out for:

CSK: Watson, MSD, Bravo, Shardul & Chahar

MI: Rohit, Pollard, Hardik, Boult & Bumrah


 

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