IPL 2023: With most stars bowing out, what could fans expect from CSK-MI El Clasico this year. CSK-MI clash on April 6 will be 1000th match of IPL. In head-to-head, MI have 20 wins from 34 matches played.
The 16th season of the most followed league in the world, the Indian Premier League, is all set to commence on March 31, 2023, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad between current IPL champions Gujarat Titans (GT) and four-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK). After a wait of three years, the IPL will be held in the home & away format with 14 games for each team, a two-group format with two games each against opposing group teams and one game each against teams of the same group.
With the IPL coming back, the most anticipated clash of the year will also be back as the two most successful teams in the IPL, the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians (MI) to lock horns twice, first at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 6 and then at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on May 6 in what will be the 1000th match of IPL. While the two sides have given fans countless memories, whether the last-over sixes by Mahendra Singh Dhoni to win matches for CSK or a comeback out of nowhere from Kieron Pollard to take Mumbai home. Of course, the funny banter between Dwayne Bravo and Pollard kept fans engaged like street fighters, as did the battles between Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. The MI vs CSK clash has it all - the right amount of spice, flavour and quantity for the fans to rejoice in repeat mode.
What’s new, and what should we expect from the two most successful teams?
After the most entertaining and nerve-wracking players, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, bid adieu to their respective sides in 2022, this year's Caribbean flavour and the banter will be missed by the spectators. But as always, the spectators might run out of nails to chew during this epic clash. Both teams have strengthened their middle order and bowling combinations, given the poor run of play in the previous season. The two marquee additions this year for both squads will be all-rounders: Ben Stokes for the Chennai Super Kings and Cameron Green for the Mumbai Indians. As the specialty of both teams has been in the past, they look to retain their core, and the core has been the same for several years now.
The opening slot for both teams will be a left-right combination with a powerful middle order, with reinforcements in the form of Ben Stokes for Chennai and Cameron Green for Mumbai. In the fast-bowling department, Mumbai seem to have a slight edge with Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer both available for selection, but given the history of spinners at the Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai will have a rather better combination to play there with Mumbai having only two full-time spinners, Piyush Chawla and Kumar Kartikeya Singh with prior IPL experience, whereas Chennai have Maheesh Theekshana, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali to roll their arms over. The afternoon game will mean the team fielding first will be battling the heat more than the opponents, and it wouldn’t be easier for the batters to play marathon innings, allowing for quickfire 20-ball, 40-ball and 30-ball innings that could do the trick at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Out of the 10 players who have scored the highest runs for CSK in games against MI since 2008, only MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu will be part of the current squad. Similar is the situation with MI, out of the 10 top run-scorers against CSK, only Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav remain a part of the 2023 MI squad.
Mumbai's bowling situation is even worse, with only Jasprit Bumrah remaining in the team among the top ten wicket-takers against Chennai. Chennai will breathe a sigh of relief as Deepak Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja still remain on the list of the top 10 wicket-takers when it comes to matches against MI.
Key match-ups to watch out for
The most intriguing match-up of the year, Pollard versus Bravo, will not take place this year. Both Mumbai and Chennai would like to develop future stars from the current lineup.
Bumrah has dismissed MS Dhoni thrice
Mumbai’s most prolific bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, hasn’t had the best of figures when it comes to bowling to the Chennai batters, as he averages 24.1 compared to his career IPL average of 23.3. Jasprit is yet to dismiss Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ben Stokes in the 35 deliveries he has bowled at them in the IPL. In the IPL, Bumrah has dismissed former India captain MS Dhoni three times. Bumrah has also dismissed Rayudu and Shivam Dube twice each.
Piyush Chawla has the wood over Rayudu
The battle between Ambati Rayudu and Piyush Chawla would be the one to watch out for, as the latter has dismissed the former six times. Piysuh Chawla has also dismissed Dhoni and Ben Stokes twice, and the batters have found it difficult to go big against the leg-spinner.
Jofra Archer has disappointed MI
Mumbai’s million dollar baby, Jofra Archer, has a fairly below-par record against Chennai batters, as apart from dismissing Rayudu twice, he has never dismissed the likes of Dhoni, Jadeja, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes in domestic T20s.
Jadeja restricts Surya
After all the controversies regarding Jadeja's place in the CSK setup, the part-time captain for 2022, Ravindra Jadeja, will be back in action this year as a full-time all-rounder. The all-rounder has been a strong performer for Chennai in the matches against Mumbai, dismissing Mumbai’s best batters, Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, three times each. SKY, who scores at the speed of a McLaren with a strike rate of 149.20 in T20s, becomes a slow-moving bullock cart when facing Jadeja, with a strike rate of just 78.2.
Thala Dhoni's reign in Chennai more uncertain than ever
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has belted MI for 15 years, scoring 710 runs in 31 innings and winning games out of nowhere with a strike rate of 136.02, will most probably be playing his last IPL season. Chennai will not only miss MS Dhoni as the champion captain, but his finishing abilities, his presence of mind and his quick hands behind the wickets will be missed more than anything else. The old era of CSK and MI superstars almost coming to an end with only Dhoni, Jadeja and Rayudu remaining for CSK, and Rohit Sharma and Bumrah for MI, In this year's el clasico, the battle of the new generation of players will be the ones to watch out for. Or, as the year progresses, will this match still be referred to as "El Classico" after 2023?
Head-to-Head records between CSK & MI
The two teams have played each other on 34 occasions, out of which Chennai have won on 14 occasions whereas Mumbai have had the upper hand, winning 20 matches. The battle is expected to be similar this year, as Chennai will play at the MA Chidambaram stadium for the first time in three years. The records for Chennai against Mumbai at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is worse than against any touring opponent, as they have lost 5 out of the 7 games against them at this venue. The last time both teams faced off in Chennai was way back in 2019, for the first qualifier, where the Mumbai Indians outplayed the Chennai Super Kings, winning by six wickets. The challenge would be a bit different this year as Mumbai and Chennai will be battling it out in the heat during peak summer in Chennai, and this would be an afternoon start game for the two heavyweights.