IPL 2024: MI-CSK renew high-octane rivalry under new skippers | Cricket News

MUMBAI: When you see top corporate bigwigs, cricket officials and even players struggle to get tickets, you know that it’s here-the El Clasico of the IPL.
On Sunday night, two of the most decorated clubs of the IPL, with five titles each, will resume their famed rivalry when the Mumbai Indians face off against the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.
What adds allure is the fact that this could be the last IPL outing for MS Dhoni at a venue where he lifted the ODI World Cup trophy in 2011.Since the ‘Impact Player’ rule came into existence, the 42-year-old has hardly come out to bat, unless needed. Going by the trend in IPL 2024, the Wankhede crowd is likely to cheer vociferously for him even if he pulls off a catch or stumping or makes a fleeting appearance with the bat.
Having undergone a contrasting transition in leadership-MI are now led by Hardik Pandya while CSK are captained by Ruturaj Gaikwad-both the teams have blown hot and cold so far.
MI lost their first three games before bouncing back with wins at home against Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. CSK started off with wins against RCB and Gujarat Titans at home, but stumbled to two defeats on the road and then recovered by beating Kolkata Knight Riders at home.

Of late, CSK have had the wood on MI, beating them four times in their last five encounters. Ironically, CSK will bank on the four Mumbai aces in their pack-inform Shivam Dube, Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande. Each of these four must know the Wankhede track like the back of their hand, with three of them-Rahane, Thakur and Deshpande being a part of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy winning side last month.
When MI and CSK met at the Wankhede last year, Rahane had smashed a breathtaking 27-ball 61 to star in CSK’s seven-wicket win.
The match will also pit two contenders for the allrounder’s position in Team India for the T20 World Cup in June. With 176 runs in five games @44.00 and a strike rate of 160, Dube, playing in the role of an Impact Player, is CSK’s top run-getter.
Having smashed 13 sixes so far, the 30-year-old has won the heart of someone he’s often compared with, India’s 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh, who feels that the Mumbaikar must surely be a part of India’s T20 WC squad.


As if being booed by his home crowd wasn’t enough, Dube’s sizzling performances has put pressure on Pandya (84 runs in five matches @32.25 & 1-89 in eight overs) to raise his game too. Struggling to find his groove while batting too low down the order, Pandya showed signs of finding his mojo during his six-ball 21 not out cameo against RCB on Thursday.
With their rest of the bowling floundering, MI will once again rely heavily on the magic of Jasprit Bumrah, who took a match-winning haul of five for 21 against RCB, to bail them out against a strong CSK batting line-up.
Where this battle could be decided is how MI’s rampaging batting line-up, currently looking destructive at full strength with the return of Suryakumar Yadav, tackles CSK’s top-class spinners Ravindra Jadeja (3-18 in four overs in the last match) and Maheesh Theekshana.


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