After the Chennai Super Kings suffered two defeats in their opening matches, another loss here to Mumbai Indians will end this season’s T20 Champions League campaign for the most successful side in IPL history (4.30pm BST, Saturday).
The Indian Premier League teams have all struggled to cope with the South African conditions this week but Mumbai just started to show their true quality before rain brought a premature end to their match with Yorkshire.
This is a difficult game to predict because both teams have been so disappointing in this competition. The four IPL teams occupied the top four slots in the tournament betting but at this stage, there is a danger that none of them will qualify for the semi-finals.
Of the two sides, Mumbai have just shaded it on form so there is some value in taking Harbhajan Singh’s side for the win. In their match with Yorkshire, the West Indian pair of Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard were just starting to find their best form and with a contribution from Rohit Sharma, Mumbai were set for a big total when the rain arrived.
In their defeat against the Lions however, batting wasn’t the problem and after making a defendable total of 157-6, Harbhajan’s bowlers went around the park as their opponents chased down that total with eight wickets and an over to spare.
In that match, Kulkarni, Pollard, Ojha and skipper Harbhajan all went for more than nine an over and they simply have to provide more support to Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga who are spearheading this attack.
Chennai’s result against the Lions was very similar to Mumbai’s and after setting a target of 159, MS Dhoni’s side lost that match by six wickets and three balls to spare. For much of the game however, their opponents were comfortably behind the run rate until some late hitting from Jean Symes took his team over the line.
In the batting department, several batsmen made useful starts in that match and Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni himself all seem to be in reasonable form but they desperately need to go on and make big scores.
As with Mumbai, the bowling will be more of a concern for the Super Kings and while Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenahaus are keeping things tight at the start, they are receiving little support elsewhere. The star performers in this attack are Albie Morkel and R Ashwin yet both went for ten an over in that Lions defeat and this is a key area that the Indians can exploit.
While the game is tough to call, the sides feature strong batting line-ups against suspect bowling attacks and this is where the match will be won or lost. The bookies are making Chennai slight favourites but Mumbai have a little momentum after that abandoned game with Yorkshire and should upset the odds in this fixture.