The Indian Premier League (IPL) El Clasico will happen under vastly different circumstances this year, with both teams desperate for points while languishing near the bottom of the points table.
While the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have managed one win in their six games, the Mumbai Indians (MI) are staring at a never-achieved-before feat of seven consecutive losses to start an IPL season right in the face. A win wouldn’t help either side climb up the rankings much, but it would serve as a welcome boost to both form and morale.
CSK squandered a winning position against the Gujarat Titans in their previous game. A series of tactical blunders and some miserable death bowling from Chris Jordan ensured that the Super Kings carried no momentum forward from their win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dwaine Pretorius, who impressed earlier in the season, is expected to walk back into the playing XI, with Adam Milne ruled out of IPL 2022 with an injury.
Meanwhile, MI will look towards Kieron Pollard to replicate some of his standard heroics against CSK. The West Indian, who is now retired from international cricket, hasn’t found his timing in IPL 2022 but could welcome favorable opposition to finally kickstart his campaign. Mumbai might also replace Fabian Allen with Tim David, who was bought for a sizeable amount in the auction but hasn’t gotten enough opportunities to showcase his worth.
The DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai will play host to the encounter on Thursday, April 21.
IPL 2022 Match Prediction: MI vs CSK
Ruturaj Gaikwad finally found some form in CSK’s previous game, and the opener will be keen to keep his run-scoring going against a bowling attack that has struggled for penetration this year. With Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube firing, as well as Ambati Rayudu making his first notable contribution of the season against the Titans, the Super Kings’ batting lineup wears a fairly settled look.
Maheesh Theekshana has shored up the bowling department, having picked up six wickets in three games. His powerplay threat, combined with the likely arrival of Pretorius, should help CSK assuage some of their bowling concerns, if not all of them. Mukesh Choudhary will also be crucial in breaking up an opening partnership – Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan – that hasn’t lived up to expectations recently.
MI have often held the wood over CSK, and the same could easily continue in Match 33 if the five-time IPL champions win the toss. The Men in Yellow have found it nearly impossible to defend targets in IPL 2022 owing to their struggling bowling attack, and MI have the batting firepower to attack the weak links sensibly.
However, taking the toss out of the equation, CSK have been the better side this year. They could’ve beaten the Lucknow Super Giants and the Titans with some smarter planning and team selection, while MI have somehow managed to botch straightforward chases.
So while an MI win is a definite possibility, Ravindra Jadeja and Co. could put one across their arch-rivals.
Prediction: CSK to win Match 33 of IPL 2022