Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) lock horns in match 41 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The two teams clashed in the opening match of the tournament in Abu Dhabi, which CSK won by five wickets. However, it has been a contrasting tournament for both teams since that match. While CSK have been languishing in the bottom of the table, MI are racing towards securing themselves a berth in the playoffs.
Despite that loss, MI have been the dominant side not just in the recent past but over the course of the IPL too.
Overall: Matches – 29 | MI – 17 Wins | CSK – 11 Wins | NR - 1
Last 5 Matches: MI – 4 Wins | CSK – 1 Win
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
This will be the ninth match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in IPL 2020. Out of the eight previous matches, the team chasing have won on three occasions – including the last two times – while the rest of the matches have been won by the teams setting a target. Chennai have lost both their games at this venue so far, while Mumbai beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their only game in Sharjah.
Initially tipped as a ground where 200-plus could be chased down easily, the wear and tear of the pitch is slowly starting to tell and as a result, the scores too have reduced. While the average first innings score at the venue is still 200, for those chasing, the average second innings total of 178 does not offer much encouragement.
While the batsmen have been able to score at 9.3 runs per over – the highest compared to Dubai and Abu Dhabi – they have been losing a wicket every 22.3 deliveries, 34.7 runs apart.
When it comes to the pace vs spin debate, Sharjah is overwhelmingly in favour of the pacers, who have picked up 76.7% of the wickets to fall, which is the highest among all venues this season. Contrastingly, the spinners have picked up just 23.3% of the wickets - the least among all venues. The pacers also have the best balls per wicket ratio (19.3) at Sharjah, which is once again the best in this edition of the IPL, while the spinners with a bowling strike-rate of 31.9 are the worst.
Also, the fast bowlers give away 30.7 runs before picking up a wicket in Sharjah, while the spinners concede 47.8 runs – both of which are the worst among all venues.
Hence, stock your team with fast bowlers for this match as they might go for a few runs, but will certainly fetch you some valuable points with some wickets. Furthermore, it is advisable that you get in some big bitters like Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya or even Ravindra Jadeja in your team as they could make the best use of the small boundaries in Sharjah.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too.
MS Dhoni over the years has struggled against Jasprit Bumrah. Even though the MI pacer has dismissed Dhoni just thrice in 12 innings, the CSK skipper’s strike-rate is an underwhelming 92.2. In fact, since the last time Bumrah dismissed Dhoni, the latter has managed to score just 13 runs from 24 deliveries further underlying his struggle against his former international teammate.
Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Kieron Pollard three times on four innings between 2012 and 2013 but has ever since, never managed to get the better of the West Indies all-rounder. It has been seven years and the CSK spinner – be in IPL or at the international level – has struggled to not just dismiss Pollard, but has also not been successful in containing him. Jadeja has struggled with the ball in this edition and we could once again see Pollard, who has struck at 127.78 in the middle overs and 215.12 in the death this season ripping into Jadeja.
Mumbai’s reliable No. 3, Suryakumar Yadav has not had the best of games last two times, but this could be a great opportunity to roar back into form. While his form in the Powerplay is not great this season, he could very well improve if he were to come in early and face Deepak Chahar, against whom he has an average of 63 and strike-rate of 143.2 in six innings. Chahar, on his part, has been brilliant for CSK in the Powerplay, having picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of 6.8 and would fancy his chances against Surya.
While many were left impressed with Shikhar Dhawan’s back-to-back centuries the other day, Quinton de Kock, MI’s leading run-scorer now has three continuous fifties to his name, which if not more, is equally commendable. De Kock has four 50-plus scores in nine innings this season and strikes at 146.36. Only Shikhar Dhawan (180), Mayank Agarwal (181) and KL Rahul (217) have scored more runs in the first six overs this season than de Kock (170). Moreover, while his strike-rate is an impressive 138.21 in the Powerplay, in the middle-overs it goes up to 166.22. His consistency over the last three games or so is good enough for you to have him as captain.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts de Kock could score 17-40 runs in this match.
Former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir also picks de Kock as his captain for this match
Jasprit Bumrah has been MI’s go-to bowler across all phases, just like he has been over the last 2-3 years for the franchise. His 15 wickets at 17.86 along with a strike-rate of 14.4 is nothing short of impressive and he will look to avenge the beating he took against CSK in the first match with a memorable performance here. Since then however, Bumrah has turned a corner and is among the best bowlers in the league this season.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Bumrah could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match.
Given that he is a medium- pacer with an ability to whack the ball a long way with the bat, Sam Curran is a perfect candidate for a place in your team especially in Sharjah. The decision to have him open has not been a huge success, but he is certainly someone who can give you points in abundance with both bat and ball. He has scored 121 runs at a strike-rate of 151.29 and with ball in hand he has 10 wickets to his name, striking every 20.4 deliveries.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Curran could score 10-37 runs and pick up 0-1 wickets in this match.
Faf du Plessis has just managed one fifty in his last five innings, but in Sharjah, he has recorded scores of 58 and 72 in the two matches so far. Moreover, the last time these two sides met, du Plessis struck a fine unbeaten 58 at Abu Dhabi to guide his side home. Given that this is a must-win game for CSK, we might see du Plessis step up to the plate and deliver.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts du Plessis could score 14-37 runs in this match.