|Kieron Pollard during a training session
Mumbai: Their campaign back on track after back-to-back victories over Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will now face Chennai Super Kings in a no-holds-barred contest at the Wankhede, here, on Saturday.
The rivals are poised for an intense battle before a packed house that is crucial for the hosts and Champions League holders than the Super Kings who are sitting pretty at No. 2 in the standings with six wins from eight games.
Mumbai Indians’ consecutive victories have again proved that they are an entirely transformed unit while playing at home and it would be a mountainous task for the opposition to get past them at the Wankhede. Should they defeat the Super Kings as well in their fortress, Mumbai Indians will be right back in the race for the playoff stage.
The occasion beckons Mumbai Indians to continue their good run as the Super Kings’ confidence could well be on a low, especially after the 44-run thrashing they got from the Kings XI the other day.
Super Kings bowlers, ripped apart by Glenn Maxwell and Co., would find in-form captain Rohit Sharma and West Indian powerhouse Kieron Pollard to be the major stumbling blocks.
Rohit, who made a superb 59 not out, and Pollard (43) almost put on a century partnership for the fifth wicket against ECB in their previous game, which helped the home team post their highest total — 187 — this season.
Both batsmen revel at the Wankhede, where the ball comes on to the bat nicely, and would certainly be looking forward to pile on the agony for CSK bowlers.
Ambati Rayudu and Corey Anderson have got off to starts and would be trying to convert them into big ones, while wicket-keeper C.M. Gautam, too, has surprised one and all with his big hits.
Super Kings batsmen too, especially the opening combination of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, apart from Suresh Raina and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (147), would relish the surface which aids stroke-play.