The twenty-seventh match of the IPL 2021 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 twenty-seventh game of IPL 2021 – MI vs CSK.
IPL 2021: How good have been CSK with the bat?!
Chennai Super Kings have been excellent as a batting unit in IPL 2021 so far. A lot better than what they were in the previous season. The CSK batsmen had a below-par strike rate of 126.82 in the last season, which has sky-rocketed to 146.53 in 2021.
CSK have a strong case to be crowned as the best batting unit of the tournament so far; admittedly the decks have helped. The CSK have batsmen have been equally good against pace and spin.
They have followed a set template: play safe in the first three overs and capitalise later.
The likes of Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad have played according to their strengths. Faf has helped by taking on the pacers in the powerplay and Gaikwad has been good against spin. Moeen Ali and Suresh Raina have took care of tempo in the middle overs. And, Ravindra Jadeja has donned the role of the lead finisher.
CSK have been ridiculously good in the overs 7-11, and probably that’s what separates them from the other sides.
However, CSK haven’t succeeded against Mumbai Indians in recent times. The Yellow Army has won just two out of eight matches against MI since 2018. And, they’re expected to have a tough game in this fixture as well.
MI vs CSK: MI bowlers to get better of CSK batsmen?
The last time CSK met Mumbai Indians, they were bowled out for 114. CSK would have been in a much worse condition if not for Sam Curran’s knock of 52 runs. Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult wreaked havoc with the new nut as they dismantled CSK for 24/5 in the powerplay.
MI should aim to hurt CSK within the powerplay, and further extending the damage in the middle overs.
However, MI bowlers haven’t been at their best in the powerplay yet. Trent Boult is the only MI bowler to scalp a wicket, that too only one! However, he hasn’t bowled badly. It’s just a matter of time that he gets the rewards. Boult’s inswingers have been his best weapon against RHBs. With two right-handers at the top, the Kiwi can kick off really well.
ALSO READ: Ruturaj Gaikwad bounces back strongly
MI don’t employ Bumrah enough in the powerplay. But MI as well as Bumrah should try being a bit more attacking, depending on their start.
The best obvious plan should be to bowl in the middle of the good-length and the slot. Other than that, a fielder in the deep fine-leg for Faf’s scoops should help.
Scott Styris, in Select Dugout, observed that bowling back-of-length balls at the top of off-stump is a good plan against Gaikwad. His footwork is minimal and he isn’t very comfortable against high-end quality pace. MI pacers’ operate at a good speed so that a significant advantage.
Lowest Strike Rate in the Powerplay this season:
(Min 50 runs scored in the PP)
Ruturaj Gaikwad 91.11
KL Rahul 98.90
Quinton de Kock 108.33
David Warner 110.71#IPL2021
— Stat Doctor🩺 (@stat_doctor) April 30, 2021
If MI want to follow the defensive route, Krunal Pandya is a good option. Since 2019, Krunal has an economy of 6.23 and averages about 27 vs RHBs in the powerplay.
Jayant Yadav might go out in this game. His bowling looked very harmless in the last match. And, it does make sense to bring in Ishan Kishan to bolster the middle-order as the pitches in Delhi have looked good for batting.
In case Jayant is dropped, the big worry for Mumbai Indians is the lack of an away-turner for LHBs.
Over 40% of Rahul Chahar’s balls against southpaws are googlies but his economy of 9.32 on those deliveries reveal his ineffectiveness with googlies. Krunal isn’t a great option either. MI spinners weren’t great against southpaws in the last season too.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, despite his recent downfall, might be a good option against Raina and Moeen. Both have issues against well-directed short balls & bouncers. Thus, Nathan can act as an enforcer. Since 2020, he has bowled 50 short balls and bouncers against LHBs and has scalped four wickets at an economy of 6.24.
However, they need to keep the pace up, bowl the right lines and lengths.
Also, Bumrah and Boult can chip in well.
The openers, if they escape powerplay, and Ambati Rayudu can be managed by Chahar, Krunal and others.
Even though Mumbai Indians haven’t been up to the mark in the powerplay, they have been good in the death overs. They made good comebacks in the second half of the inning in almost all games of the Chennai leg.
They have been considerably better than others.
Bumrah is Bumrah. And, CSK batsman is unlikely to get the better of him unless he has a really bad in the office. Pace, yorkers and variations – Bumrah has it all.
But, what has been a revelation for MI is the improvement of Boult. Since 2020, about 30% of his balls in the death overs have been yorkers. He hasn’t been very good in this phase but he hasn’t been below-par either. And, the improvement is significant. With Bumrah at the other end, Boult is a good support bowler.
MS Dhoni hasn’t looked in great touch for quite some time. Ravindra Jadeja has improved but can he go well against Bumrah? And, Sam Curran might find it hard as well.
All in all, Mumbai Indians, who have a quality attack to counter CSK, need to get better returns in the powerplay and they will have a good game.
NOTE: All stats are updated till 29 April 2021.