IPL 2020: Mumbai Indians face Chennai Super Kings in opening match | Cricket news
Yes, MI vs CSK is your quintessential ‘expensive’ match. And indeed it is ironic that the lung opener of this delayed edition of IPL 13, played in the United Arab Emirates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, does not have tickets to the match as the tournament is only for a television audience.
So why then MI vs CSK, the IPL Classic?
1. They have won seven titles between them.
2. They have met 28 times, more than any other team.
3. They have played four IPL finals.
4. They are led by two Indian superstars, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni, both tactically astute.
The last point is noteworthy as both cricketers have their followers in each other’s lairs. The crowd in Mumbai, despite wanting the Mumbai Indians to win, is not making fun of a Chennai Super Kings fan wearing a number 7 jersey. There are also fans in Chennai, proudly wearing the dark blue number 45. Cricket, like politics, polarizes, but it doesn’t make you hate.
Dhoni, often labeled Captain Cool for his behavior, has a legitimate claimant for that label in Rohit. Like MSD, Hitman doesn’t believe in giving his players a public reprimand. Like Dhoni, the opener does not change the field after each limit or a six. Like Dhoni, Rohit believes in giving a player a decent career.
And who better than Rohit to appreciate that and learn from him, as it is Rohit’s talent that Dhoni endorsed incessantly for years as he captained India and the Mumbai stylist redeemed himself to become a modern white ball colossus.
MI and CSK also boast of having the most established teams and support staff, showing that stability, even in T20, can be rewarding.
CSK has played eight finals and lost five. Three of them to ME. Dhoni has played nine, including one for Rising Pune Super Giant in 2017. He has lost two one-run finals to MI.
After an even record initially, MI has dominated them lately, winning eight of the last nine games. The last five wins have been trotting. One of MI’s trusted lieutenants, Ambati Rayudu, wears the famous yellow now and is expected to hit at number 3 where Suresh Raina, so often the thorn in the flesh of MI with 818 runs against them, does, but will not be there this time. . Dhoni himself is getting old, as is Faf du Plessis. Harbhajan Singh has retired. Deepak Chahar comes from a Covid-19 infection. Ruturaj Gaikwad is not safe for the game. Dwayne Bravo’s bowling ability is unreliable.
CSK has CHAOS written in bold and capital letters. MI seems more settled. They have youth, a huge head-to-head advantage and a more complete team. Recent encounters between the two sides have been dramatic, but certain moves – like Rohit giving Malinga the last change in the 2019 final despite the Lankan veteran playing an ordinary game – seemed to lack logic. But the movement conjured a dramatic victory.
The great thriller filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock had once said, “When logic ends, drama begins.” Few events in 2020 seem logical. But there has been drama. Expect more in UAE.