|Suresh Raina during a practice session, at the Brabourne Stadium, on Tuesday
Mumbai: After scripting an incredible finish in their last game to earn a play-offs berth, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will now be up against two-time title holders Chennai Super Kings in the IPL eliminator here on Wednesday.
Resurgent MI, who advanced by virtue of a better net run rate, after pulling off an improbable run chase against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, would be eager to continue in the same vein. But they face a daunting task against a formidable side at the Brabourne Stadium.
New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson conjured up an astonishing 44-ball unbeaten 95 under tremendous pressure to single-handedly power MI to the Eliminator as the hosts rattled Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a high-scoring thriller.
Requiring to chase down a 190-run target within 15 overs, Mumbai Indians overhauled the target in just 14.4 overs, with Aditya Tare hitting that magical six.
The last edition’s winners have certainly come a long way, following the first phase in the UAE, where the Rohit Sharma-led team tasted five defeats in a row.
MI seem to have put behind their opening woes, with a successful combination of former Australian player Michael Hussey and West Indian Lendl Simmons, who has scored the only century so far.
“We were fearless in the way we played the last game and if we can continue that and the momentum that we have got, then we can have a real shot at winning this match. If we keep that fearless nature about us, then I am sure we could be a force to reckon with,” said Corey said at the media conference.
“A lot of people had written us off coming into that Rajasthan Royals game and to pull off what people thought was impossible is a pretty good feeling. It is almost a sense of relief that now we are in the play-offs and everyone starts on an even playing field again. The play-offs are different as everyone is on an even-playing field,” he said.
The hard-hitting batsman said it was good to get compliments from New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum but wished the Chennai opener wouldn’t score runs against his team.
“From a New Zealander to a New Zealander it is nice but I will be hoping the same thing. He has obviously had a good tournament as well. He is a dangerous player and if we can nullify him and minimise his damage then it is going to be a massive part positive for us,” Anderson said.
CSK, on the other hand, snapped their three-match losing streak with a comfortable eight-wicket win against the Royal Challengers on Saturday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men won both the league ties against MI this year, and they would be eager to pull the rug from under their feet for one more time to get another shot at the title.
CSK possess a good batting line-up, which includes the lethal opening pair of West Indian Dwayne Smith and New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum. (PTI)