IPL 2020 Match 1 Preview: MI vs CSK - With all overseas stars available, Mumbai to have wood over Chennai
In what comes as a big breakthrough for the IPL governing body and the BCCI, it has been agreed that the players flying in from the UK after the white-ball fixtures between England and Australia will need to quarantine for just 36 hours.
The three Kolkata Knight Riders players Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton and Pat Cummins will isolate for six days, with Kolkata's first match scheduled on September 23.
This means that all the overseas players for all franchises, including Josh Hazlewood and Sam Curran for CSK, will be available since the beginning of the tournament.
Chennai face a roadblock in Mumbai
The IPL is all set to kick off then, with the fixture between last year's finalists Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. Mumbai had the upper hand over Chennai throughout IPL 2019. The teams met each other in four matches in the last edition, twice in the league stage and twice in the knockouts and Mumbai came out with wins in all those games, including the final in which the match was decided on the last ball as Mumbai won the title by just one run.
The opening fixture of IPL 2020 will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi in the UAE, which is expected to offer a batting-friendly surface, at least for the first few matches of the competition.
Watson and Vijay to open for CSK
Chennai Super Kings are likely to go in with Shane Watson and Murali Vijay as their opening combination. Ruturaj Gaikwad could have been an option to open for CSK but he has not yet been cleared by BCCI's medical team. Faf du Plessis is another option for the opening slot, but the team will want to go in with an Indian opener which frees up an overseas spot in the bowling department.
No Raina, Dhoni can bat as high as 4
Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni will form the middle order, with Dhoni having the onus of finishing the match with Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo. All-rounder Bravo will have an Indian pacer, probably Deepak Chahar and and an overseas pacer, probably Josh Hazlewood to assist him.
Piyush Chawla and Imran Tahir are likely to be the leading spin options for CSK.
Rohit Sharma to stick to opening
As has been confirmed by Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene, Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma will continue to open the batting for the side. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan will be slotted in the middle order, after which Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya will play the role of the finisher, in no particular order.
Pattinson likely to be Malinga's replacement
With Lasith Malinga pulling out, Mumbai Indians have the option of playing either Nathan Coulter-Nile or James Pattinson alongside Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. Rahul Chahar will accompany Krunal Pandya to form Mumbai's spin attack.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi/Josh Hazlewood
Mumbai Indians (MI) - Quinton de Kock(wk), Rohit Sharma(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, James Pattinson, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.
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