CSK skipper MS Dhoni
Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), two of the most successful IPL teams with five and four title triumphs respectively, will once again lock horns at the Wankhede Stadium to prove their supremacy today.
MI lost their opening IPL-16 game to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, when except Tilak Varma, all their top-order batters including skipper Rohit Sharma, the attacking Suryakumar Yadav and promising Ishan Kishan failed to live up to their reputations.
IND vs ENG 3rd T20I: India earn consolation five-wicket win, England win series
Rain-hit Kingsmead encounter called off, India's WC combination search to wait
Patil-Ishaque's heroics in vain as Knight's fifty powers England to 126
SA vs IND 1st T20I live updates: Rain persists at Kingsmead
Test of strength in depth as Bavuma-less SA take on India's Gen-Next stars
MI's bowling department managed to get only two RCB wickets as the southern franchise smashed their target score of 172 in just 16.2 overs.
MI batting coach Kieron Pollard wants all his players to fire against CSK today. "I believe all batters have to fire. I do not think we should single out any individual. Cricket is played with 11 players. The tournament has just started, so everyone is just looking to start [on a] high," Pollard said during a pre-match press conference on Friday.
When MI and CSK last competed against each other at the same venue - on May 12, 2022 - MI enjoyed the upper hand by winning a one-sided affair by five wickets. And coming back to their home ground, Pollard is optimistic of a better result. He said: "Yes, we did not get off to a great start as a batting unit, but in the end, we managed a decent total in Bangalore. Let us see what happens since we are back at Wankhede."
Local boy Suryakumar, no stranger to big scores, is struggling for momentum. However, Pollard is not worried about Suryakumar's form.
"We have no concerns over Surya's form. Again. I believe you guys make more of it than we do sometimes within the team set up. People have bad days and it is unfortunate our bad days are highlighted and we keep speaking on and on about it rather than trying to look at the positive [or what the player has done over the past 18 months or so]," Pollard explained.
It seems the new Impact Player rule is out of MI's equation and Pollard expects every player to make an impact in the team's win.
"To be honest, I have not thought much about the Impact Player rule. Lots of thoughts have been flying around about it, but for me, you still have to go out and play cricket, impact or no impact. As players you have to make an impact on the field anyway. We have not put too much thought into it. We are just trying to prepare for the game rather than focusing on one particular area, which is the impact player," Pollard remarked.
Meanwhile, CSK, who lost their IPL-16 opener to Gujarat Titans by five wickets in Ahmedabad on March 31, beat Lucknow Super Giants by 12 runs in Chennai later on April 3. CSK have two Mumbai boys - all-rounder Shivam Dube and pacer Tushar Deshpande in their camp, who have plenty of experience of playing at Wankhede and alongside Rohit and Suryakumar, which will be advantageous for the Chennai outfit.
And the way opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (who has smashed 92 and 57) is batting, the Jofra Archer-led MI attack has a big challenge on hand.