Chennai Super Kings 2.02, Mumbai Indians 1.75
The IPL rolls in to Bengaluru today, where pre-tournament favourites the Super Kings play Mumbai Indians for a right to play in the final eliminator. Remember, due to the IPL system this isn’t a semi-final as such and the winners here will take on Delhi Daredevils for the right to play the Knight Riders in the final.
Complicated rules out of the way, this game sees the two main under achievers of the season come face-to-face. Chennai won the IPL in two consecutive seasons but just managed to scrape into the qualifiers here with their worst group record since the tournament began.
Mumbai, meanwhile, were tipped to take the Kings’ crown, but as Sachin Tendulkar resigned the captaincy on the eve of the tournament their plans were thrown into disarray. While Harbhajan Singh proved a more able deputy than most of us imagined, Mumbai also disappointed, but their ability to battle to tight finishes saw them over the line.
The key men for Chennai could be Ravi Jadeja, who has the best bowling figures of the tournament so far, and captain MS Dhoni, whose destructive hitting down the order has been lacking from the Super Kings’ performances to date.
For Mumbai, it’s all about the batting, with the big hitters of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith leading the Indians’ charge in many games. Lasith Malinga, meanwhile, has shown what a devastating one-day bowler he can be when fit.
It’s that ability to squeeze home in tight finishes that means Mumbai start this game as favourites, and Harbhajan’s men won both head-to-head games at the tournament stage. Somehow and somewhere, however, Chennai have to come good. The big names in their squad could finally pull together as a unit and take the win here this evening.