The Mumbai Indians (MI) will face the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in game 33 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday. Every year, this match is known as IPL’s El Clasico. However, with both sides struggling for relevance this season, the description doesn’t seem apt for now. Mumbai are currently languishing at the bottom of the points table, with six losses in as many matches. Speaking of CSK, they have only fared slightly better, winning one of their six games. Looking back at the head-to-head battle, MI have a 19-13 lead over CSK after 32 meetings. As they face off yet again, here are five player battles to watch out for in the contest.
1. Ishan Kishan vs Maheesh Theekshana: There were massive expectations from Mumbai opener Ishan Kishan after he was purchased for Rs 15.25 crore at the IPL mega auction, the most expensive player sold on the bidding table. Kishan began IPL 2022 in impressive fashion, with two consecutive half-centuries. However, he has struggled for rhythm since. With so much hype over him, Kishan will be keen to prove that he is worth the money. The left-hander has had his struggles against slow bowling. CSK have been utilizing Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana at the start of the innings. He even claimed four wickets in Chennai’s only win of IPL 2022 so far. Can he unsettle Kishan early?
2. Ruturaj Gaikwad vs Jasprit Bumrah: After getting off to a poor start with the bat for the third year in a row, CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad finally rediscovered his rhythm with a fluent 73 in the match against GT. If we look at his track record for the past couple of seasons in the IPL, he is literally unstoppable when he gets into the groove. As such Gaikwad will be keen to build on the momentum. MI would want to see the back of him early and will use Jasprit Bumrah at the start. Teams have handled the MI lead pacer smartly, playing him safely while targeting the other bowlers. What tactic will Gaikwad adopt?
3. Suryakumar Yadav vs Dwayne Bravo: In the second half of Mumbai’s innings, Suryakumar Yadav has done a wonderful job for the team, coming in and playing handsome knocks. Mumbai haven’t been able to win any matches in spite of Suryakumar’s brilliance, but his presence has definitely had a positive impact. In four matches, SKY has smashed 52, 68*, 43 and 37. He will be keen to carry on with the good work. Bringing his experience into play, Dwayne Bravo would look to unsettle the in-form Mumbai batter. Can he halt the Yadav Express with his variations?
4. Shivam Dube vs Murugan Ashwin: CSK all-rounder Shivam Dube may have been struggling with the ball, but he has been excellent with the willow for Chennai. He scored 49 against Lucknow and 57 against Punjab before being instrumental in the team’s only win in IPL 2022 thus far, smashing 95* against RCB. Dube has been terrific with his big-hitting, and has cleared the fence with ease on a number of occasions. MI would look to use leggie Murugan Ashwin to try and scuttle the Dube impact. Ashwin might not have made the same impact as Rahul Chahar did for Mumbai in the previous seasons, but is a tough competitor nonetheless.
5. Ravindra Jadeja vs Jaydev Unadkat: Skipper Ravindra Jadeja, it seems, has decided to take on the finisher’s role in CSK’s current batting line-up. He has not enjoyed a lot of success, with two 20s and as many ducks to his name. The captain will be keen to change the same, knowing he is a much better player. Jaydev Unadkat did a good job for Mumbai at the death. He was the standout bowler with figures of 2 for 32. Can he get it right again and frustrate Jadeja?