Sunday has one of the biggest games of this season’s IPL. Both Chennai and Mumbai have been doing well though Chennai has now raced away to the top after a sluggish start to the tournament. They are on the verge of qualifying and know that if they finish in the top two, then they get two cracks at getting to the finals.
The first is when the number one team plays the number two team and whichever loses then gets to play the winner of the other eliminator between the third and fourth placed teams. The teams therefore are not just looking to qualify for the knockouts but to finish in the first two so they get the extra game to try and get in the finals.
There is also the incentive of playing in the Champions League so teams will try and finish third at least so they get a direct entry to the Champions League.
Chennai have got better the more they have played. One of the biggest plusses of playing in Chennai is that when they play elsewhere the heat
does not bother them as much and so they have the extra energy to do the extraordinary things that we have seen in the tournament. Their batsmen are really pumelling the ball with Hussey, Raina and the skipper Dhoni being consistent.
Then there is the calculated big hitting of Bravo to finish the overs and they are then defending their totals with some clever bowling too. There may have been a few anxious moments against the Kings Eleven as they had two big hitting batsmen at the crease but even they wilted under
the Chennai heat and so lost the game by 14 runs which is a big margin in this format of the game.
Mumbai will want to recover ground after their loss to the Rajasthan and the Hyderabad teams. They know they have to get a good start which they have been unable to do and so are not getting to the score that can put pressure on the opposition. They bat better first when they are not under the pressure of the asking rate and if they are chasing a big score then they struggle.
The Rajasthan team tried some experiments which did not quite work in the Eden Gardens, so back on home territory they will look to stick to the plans that work for them. They, like most other teams, have been impregnable at home and against the Pune team they will want to win big to
improve their net run rate since it looks like it could well be a close thing for the race for the fourth place.
It could be another super Sunday full of action and thrills.
Professional Management Group