The IPL 2012 is about to begin. The first match to be played is between IPL defending champions Chennai Super Kings and CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians. Though Mumbai are in full strength in terms of availability, they will have to drop either one of the top order batsmen or someone from their thick bowling line-up to squeeze in all 4 overseas players. CSK, on the other hand, are missing the services of many star players such as Micheal Hussey, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suraj Randiv and Abhinav Mukund. All of their absences, Hussey’s in particular, will hurt the Chennai team badly (strangely, last time these two teams met, it was almost the opposite. CSK had a full-flare side, while MI were missing a lot of their key players). I feel that this is a good time for players like Faf du Plessis and Scott Styris to come out and prove their worth. Though the Chennai Super Kings have the home field advantage, the Mumbai bowling attack is now heavily beefed up, with players such as RP Singh, Praghyan Ojha, and Mitchelle Johnson joining hands with the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Kieron Pollard, and Lasith Malinga. So now here are a few clashes that will be interesting to watch:
M.S Dhoni vs Lasith Malinga– The Indian and CSK skipper has always been razor sharp behind the stumps, and devastating in front of them, while Malinga’s yorkers can dumbfound even the most experienced of batsmen. Though neither player has been outstandingly awesome off late, it will be interesting to see what happens when these two lock horns, particularly in the death overs, as MSD is as good a death overs batsman as Malinga is a bowler
Suresh Raina vs Harbhajan Singh- These two are like completely contradictory characters. One bats awesome and is a part time spinner, while the other bowls awesome and bats pretty OK. Even their cricket attax card ratings reflect such stats. Raina is an awesome T2o player, and no team can let their guard down until he is back in the pavilion, while Bhaji, the newly appointed MI skipper, can a good doosra, which can have even the best batsmen stumped. Both these players will look to give the other a hard time on the field.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Sachin Tendulkar- Last time Ashwin bowled here in IPL, he troubled the Orange Cap batsman Chris Gayle, and got him duck out. Ashwin is CSK’s most successful bowler, and with Ravindra Jadeja and Shadab Jakati as his bowling partners, he will give MI something to worry about. On the other hand the Little Master (who was the oldest person in the Indian World Cup squad) has just gone over the 100th 100 landmark, and will play a lot more aggressive now. And for Sachin, wherever he goes it’s like a home ground for him. So both Sachin and Ashwin will look to undo each other today at Chennai.
Here are the teams I would recommend for each team:
Dinesh Karthik (wk)
Harbhajan Singh (capt)
Faf du Plessis
M.S Dhoni (capt & wk)