The first match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the IPL 2020 opener – MI vs CSK
Spin it Away from the CSK Middle Order
When the two heavyweights of IPL met last season, Mumbai Indians won all 4 encounters including the final. One of those games was a league game where MI used Anukul Roy, a slow left-arm orthodox spinner, to counter the CSK middle order dominated by right-handers. The matchup worked as Anukul returned with figures of 2-0-11-1.
In the qualifier, when the two sides met again, Mumbai recognised Suresh Raina as the biggest threat to their spin attack, which did not have anyone who could turn it away from the left-hander. To counter him, they played Jayant Yadav, the off-spinner, and bowled him in the powerplays as soon as Raina came in. Yet again the matchup game paid dividends as Jayant dismissed Raina and made it easy for Krunal and Chahar in the middle overs.
However, with Raina not available for the upcoming season, the CSK batting order does not have any left-hander to take on wrist spin and left-arm orthodox in middle overs. Among the right-handed batsmen available, none of them has a fair amount of success against the MI spinners who spin it away from them in recent years.
Mumbai Indians spinners might prove to be too tough to handle for CSK batsmen in this MI vs CSK clash
MS Dhoni has scored at a strike rate of 66.67 against MI spinners who turn it away from him, which is nearly half the rate at which he scores against similar bowlers from other teams; a clear sign that the MI spinners have succeeded in choking Dhoni despite not being able to get him out.
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All other batsmen have struggled both with survival as well as scoring rate. Hence, if there is one team against whom MI should play an extra spinner who turns it away from right-handers, it has to be CSK. A repeat of the strategy they used in 2019 is on cards and it will be no surprise if Anukul Roy starts in the opening game.
For CSK, they need a left-hander in the top 5. Promoting Jadeja is definitely an option. The other option is to play one of Sam Curran and Mitchell Santner and use him as a floater in the middle overs to take on the MI spinners.