Dubai: After a disastrous start to their campaign, defending champions Mumbai Indians would be gunning for their first win in the seventh edition of the IPL, but it won’t be easy as they take on the formidable Chennai Super Kings, who are on a roll, here, on Friday.
MI could not have had a more nightmarish start to the tournament. The Rohit Sharma-led side suffered big defeats in the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders (by 41 runs) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (by 7 wickets) in their first two games.
The Mumbai outfit, have plenty of work to do, both in batting and bowling.
It is the batting, which has hurt the titleholders badly, as they could only muster 122 and 115 in their previous two games.
Ambati Rayudu got starts in both the matches, but failed to convert them into big scores. Seniors like Mike Hussey, captain Rohit, Kieron Pollard and all-rounder Corey Anderson have been far from impressive.
In bowling, veteran Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga were on the mark, but the spinners — Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha — have let the team down.
While Harbhajan has been economical, Ojha leaked runs in both matches. Their inability to pick up wickets has affected the team badly and would be a cause for concern for coach John Wright and icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Chennai, on the other hand, started their IPL-7 campaign with a six-wicket loss at the hands of Kings XI Punjab. But they stormed back with back-to-back wins over Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.
In fact, Chennai recorded their biggest-ever win in terms of runs against the Delhi Daredevils (by 93 runs) before comfortably beating Rajasthan by seven wickets last night.
And going by form, Chennai will start as overwhelming favourites against a struggling MI.
Two-time winners CSK will be banking on their strong batting. After his 28-ball 50 against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday night, Dwayne Smith will be eyeing yet another electrifying knock.
Suresh Raina, who struck his 20th fifty in IPL recently, will again be the man to watch out for. The left-hander has been one of the most prolific scorers in the IPL.