Not too often do cricket games get as much hype as the El Clasico between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The clash is always one of the biggest fixtures in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and even outside the IPL, the audience that it garners is unknown for a domestic T20 game.
Moeen Ali, who is an integral part of the Chennai setup likens this game to the age-old rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United. Not just that, the southpaw also insisted that this is the “biggest game” that a cricketer could play outside the international arena.
"These are the two most successful franchises and the fan-following is huge and this is one of the biggest games you can play as a cricketer outside of international cricket. In football's point of view, it is like Manchester United playing Liverpool. These are huge games," Moeen Ali said.
"This is a game I really look forward to," he had to add on top of that.
However, Kieron Pollard, who is now a batting coach for Mumbai insisted that it was just another game. But having said that, the West Indian added that a lot of expectations are thrust upon this match.
"It's just another game. Obviously, it's a big game, we call it El Clasico of the IPL, Mumbai vs Chennai, and a lot of expectations are thrust upon this match in terms of who's going to come out on top," the MI batting coach analyzed.
Pollard also shed light on Mumbai's dismal show at the Chinnaswamy Stadium against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), stating that they did get a decent total.
"I don't think we should single out any one individual. Cricket is played with 11 players and again the tournament has just started for us, so everyone is looking to start the season on a high. Yes, we didn't get off to a great start as a pattern, you know. But in the end, I still feel that we managed a decent total vs Bangalore. So, let's see what happens when we play at home in Wankhede," the West Indian said.
Unlike previous years, the last two years of the IPL action was restricted to a few venues, and one of those venues was Wankhede Stadium, where CSK will take MI on Saturday (April 8). Ali complimented the opposition, stating that “Mumbai are an amazing side” but was quick to say that it was a big opportunity for them to go and win.
"Over the last couple of years in particular we have played a lot of games here because of Covid. The players like myself probably came in 2-3 years ago and we don't look at these things (head to head record at the venue). It's a great opportunity to win," Ali added.
"Mumbai are an amazing side, just like CSK actually, the two most successful teams in the competition. Another opportunity to go and win," he stated.