There couldn’t be a bigger IPL blockbuster to kick its 13th edition off than two most successful franchises in Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The two finalists of the previous season will face each other with some of the big names set to return to cricket after a lengthy gap.
IPL 2020 MI vs CSK: When and where to watch Live on TV and Online?
All eyes will be on MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya to set the tournament ablaze. Ahead of the IPL 2020 opener, we have listed the five things that are bound to make headlines.
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1. MS Dhoni’s grand comeback
MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings have been synonymous to each other in the IPL, forming a relationship unlike no other in franchise cricket. The veteran leader’s contribution to CSK has been no less than heroic, with 871 runs at average of 79.18 during the last two seasons. Dhoni, who announced his international retirement on Independence Day this year, has not played competitive cricket since India’s semi-final exit against New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup. So, expectations from the world and CSK faithful will be skyrocket as the wait is over as ‘Thala’ saunters out at Abu Dhabi in yellow. Dhoni will be the cynosure of all eyes and a spectacular performance from CSK and MSD will be the icing on the cake.
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2. CSK’s mighty spin attack
Since his debut as a captain in 2007, MS Dhoni has heavily relied on spinners. This time too, CSK head into the 2020 edition of the IPL with a strong spin bowling unit. With the likes of Mitchell Santner, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma in their ranks, CSK can be a real threat considering the dry surfaces of the UAE. The surfaces of the Chepauk and Abu Dhabi/Dubai are expected to be similar in many ways and teams can expect a whirlwind of spin during the tournament.
Also Read | MI vs CSK: Mumbai Indians’ predicted Playing XI
3. Rohit Sharma back as opener
Mumbai Indians fans have reasons to rejoice as their beloves skipper Rohit Sharma is back opening the innings. Over the years, Rohit has slotted himself in the middle-order, mostly at No. 4 to give others opportunity at the top. However, a cursory glance will tell you that Rohit performs best while opening the innings. Given the form he has been in, in the last year and a half, scoring five World Cup centuries, emerging as the leading run-getter of 2019, or excelling as a Test opener, it is a no-brainer to see the MI skipper back at the position he loves. Along with Quinton de Kock, Rohit will be keen on having a season to remember and give MI explosive starts.
4. Who will replace Lasith Malinga?
Even though Lasith Malinga’s absence will be huge void to fill for MI, there have the firepower in their pace attack to more than make up for it. Jasprit Bumrah is expected to lead MI’s bowling attack on Saturday and New Zealand’s Trent Boult is likely to partner him with the new ball. The toss up for the third fast bowler will be between Mitchell McClenaghan and Nathan Coulter-Nile, but given his record, MI might just persist with the NZ left-arm quick.
5. Who will bat at No.3 for CSK?
With Suresh Raina, IPL’s second-highest run-scorer of all time out this season, CSK have a bit of a dilemma at hand. Ruturaj Gaikwad was expected to fill in for Raina, but with youngster yet to undergo a second round of Covid-19 test, the 23-year-old will have to wait for his turn. In such a scenario, CSK can turn to Ambati Rayudu to hold on to the crucial No. 3 followed by Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni. This means that CSK might resort to the Shane Watson – Faf du Plessis combination to open the innings.