Battle of consistency vs inconsistency

Jigar Hindocha
Saturday, 28 April 2018

Pumped up and table toppers Chennai Super Kings all set to take on hapless Mumbai Indians, who find themselves in a must win situation

Pune: A look at the Indian Premier League points table after 20 days of action throws up a glaring fact–Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians are ends apart after each having played six matches.

Two time champion Chennai, who was reinstated after two-year suspension have played six matches and won five, the defending champion Mumbai Indians are in exact contrast–just one victory so far and five losses.

On Saturday when two teams meet at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, the pressure of victory will be more on the defending champions, who needs to get back their winning momentum to stay afloat. CSK on the other hand will like to add the second win at their adopted home to keep their place intact.

“Nothing is lost yet, we still in a situation, where things are in our hand. At the moment, things are in our hands, One good thing is that we have got eight games to go and we can still turn things around,” said Aditya Tare of Mumbai Indians.

Horses for courses
For CSK it has been the horses for courses policy till now. In every match, they have found one person leading from the front. It was the cameo of 68 runs from 38 balls from Dwayne Bravo in the inaugural match of the IPL-11 which earned CSK a nail-biting win against MI. From their onwards, CSK has found its hero in every match.

“Bravo is a massively important player. He is a great T20 player. We saw it how he came against Mumbai and batted it was great T20 innings,” said Eric Simons, bowling coach of CSK.
Simons also feels that Bravo is good when it comes to bowl to the middle order batsmen.

“The game is divided into three parts power plays middle overs and death overs. He has an ability to control the middle order batsman. He knows what to ball. He reads the game well and bowls accordingly,” added Simons.

On the other hand, for Mumbai Indians hardly anything has clicked. Rohit Sharma has just produced one match-winning score of 94 which came against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) otherwise it has been a quiet IPL for ‘Hitman’ who has dropped down the order to to give stability to his team’s batting but that has also not worked well for the defending champions of the tournament.

“Rohit is a phenomenal player in his place, even if he bats at top of the order or the middle order, he has got the potential to score runs and to win games both ways. It is his decision to bat at Number 4, where he feels that his best number for the team. It is the great sign that the captain is leading from the front,” explained Tare, who awaits his chance.

In T20, the team which is under pressure, comes out and performs better. CSK has a history. We were down and came back strongly so we cannot take Mumbai Indians lightly.
— Eric Simons
(Bowling coach for Chennai Super Kings) 

I believe that stability is important and the faith and trust in players especially during these times is more important. That is exactly what the management is doing and it is good.
— Aditya Tare
(on MI not making changes in playing XI) 

Captain’s form – the difference
- On one side MS Dhoni has regained its golden touch in yellow jersey smashing 209 runs in six matches whereas Rohit Sharma has just managed 140 runs in the same number of matches.
- MS Dhoni has been inspirational and leading from the front.  Dhoni’s innings of 70 runs in 34 balls against RCB and 79 off 44 balls against Kings XI Punjab were the sheer examples of his dominance.
- Against Punjab, CSK lost by 4 runs but against RCB Dhoni made sure to cross victory line with hitting six in last over when five runs were required from three balls.
- “As a player he has improved always from winning World Cup, winning in Australia, England. He (Dhoni) senses game very well. In the last match against RCB he read the game very well and played accordingly,” added Simons.

Who can change fortunes for MI
- Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Kurnal Pandya – trio can play the role of all-rounders but none of them has managed to come out with special innings which can increase run rate in last few overs.
- “Kieron is one of the main players, he bats in a position where he can play a part in winning games for the team and he has done that in the past, unfortunately, it has not happened so far. He is a match-winning player and everyone believes in his abilities,” added Aditya Tare.

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