CSK vs MI: Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will clash in the 1st match of the UAE leg.© BCCI/IPL
A little over four-and-a-half months since the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season was suspended owing to the COVID-19 second wave in India, the season is set to resume on Sunday, this time in the UAE. The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI), record five-time winners of the tournament and champions in the last two editions, will take on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on the opening day of the UAE leg at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. When the season had been suspended in May, CSK were second in the IPL points table with 10 points from seven games while the title holders were a couple of points behind in fourth.
Having won four of their seven games, MI will look to bolster their playoff hopes with a win on Sunday, which will put them level on points with CSK.
With skipper Rohit joining MI’s training after he completed a mandatory six-day quarantine, having returned from the cancelled Manchester Test against England, the side has received a timely boost ahead of the UAE leg opener.
The Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – could be key to MI’s chances in the remainder of the season while Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult will be expected to lead the attack.
Rohit, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard, among others, will be expected to shoulder the team’s batting hopes.
For CSK, the target would be to continue from where they left in the first half of the season. Veterans MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina bring some serious experience to the batting line-up while Lungi Ngidi will hope to shine with the ball.
Ruturaj Gaikwad had an impressive first half of the campaign and expectations will be high from the 24-year-old batsman. Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur will be expected to contribute with both bat and ball.
While Sunday’s result may not significantly affect either side’s playoff hopes, it may give an indication of what could lie ahead for the rest of the campaign.
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