A power packed batting line up; an all-time legend whose game can adjust to to any format; batsmen that can launch the cricket ball into the stratosphere with a flick of the wrist; a superstar specialist bowler who can crush the batsman’s toes at will; a young batsman who can finish off the job; a classy spinner – Really, there is so much to like about the Mumbai Indians team. On form and on ability, they should roll over the Chennai Super Kings quite easily.
Sure, Mumbai’s captain is at best, a nut case. He isn’t really pulling his weight as a bowler or as a captain. But to think, Mumbai have actually finished third in the season with 10 wins in spite of having Harbhajan Singh as their skipper is a huge credit to them.
The victory in the last game with Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar firing away would have given the MI faithful a lot of hope. But Chennai are still a mystery.
Let us look at the form the teams are in. Chennai lost their last league match against Kings XI Punjab and were dead and buried, for all the money in the world, and were at the mercy of results going their way. If there was someone who could have predicted the results to turn out the way they did, should immediately buy a lottery ticket, cash in and be on vacation for the rest of his/her life.
Whereas, Mumbai set a record in their last league game of the tournament. The Rajasthan Royals had a fabulous record in their home ground. They had never lost a game at home in which they scored 160 runs. Mumbai not only knocked the stuffing out of the Royals in breaking that record, they did it in style and with all their 10 wickets in hand. As far as form and preparation goes, in the lead up to playoff, it cannot get any better than that.
Chennai struggled in that match against Kings XI in Dharamsala. The top order faltered against a decent bowling attack. The middle order pushed and poked its way to a competitive total, which as it turned out, wasn’t very competitive at all. Adam Gilchrist showed to everyone how limited the Chennai bowling attack is. A man, on the verge of retirement, coming back in to the team after having sat on the bench for basically the entire tournament due to injury, pooh-poohed his way to the winning target.
So what do we know after all this? Chennai has several issues with their bowling and batting. They haven’t been consistent at all throughout the tournament and haven’t had any stand out performer in either department. Mumbai has power players up and down the line-up, have hit upon an opening combination that can bash the opposition to smithereens and a bowling attack led by a genuine superstar in Malinga.
If you were a betting man, you would put your money on Mumbai to face Delhi Daredevils in Chennai on the 25 May. But then again, given the ease with which KKR won, it's hard to count them out. Either which way, Chennai don't figure in our calculations.