Season 5 of the Indian Premier League will kick off on Wednesday night
as two of the title favourites in Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will be pitted against each other in what promises to be a mouth watering contest at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai. The Mumbai Indians have further strengthened their resources in this year's player auction to continue their fight for the elusive IPL title while Chennai chose to put all their money on Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the auction in a move that could go either way keeping in view the young man's iffy form of late. This game promises to be a terrific battle of skill between probably two of the strongest units in this year's IPL.
The super kings, who will be lead by captain cool MS Dhoni will have to go into this fixture as slender favourites with the game being played at their home venue in Chennai. Their batting looks solid with several established local players in the form of Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath and MS Dhoni ready to hold fort for the hosts. They will in all likelihood miss the ever reliable Mike Hussey who will be out on international duty and hence the onus will be heavily on the Indian contingent to rally the batting set up. With the West Indies, Australia, England and Sri Lankan teams on international duty Chennai's foreign contingent looks a bit thinner than normal but the likes of Albie Morkel and Doug Bollinger look set to resume duties for the Franchisees. The spin department will be spearheaded by Ravi Ashwin, who will be supported by fellow India team mate Ravindra Jadeja. One between Sudeep Tyagi and Yo Mahesh could get the third seamer slot for this fixture behind the foreign pros.
The Mumbai Indians batting will be as strong as ever despite the withdrawal of hard hitting Andrew Symonds as Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma look all set to shoulder responsibility. They will be ably supported by the impressive Ambati Rayudu and the ever willing Dinesh Karthik on the batting front. Kieron Pollard's impressive run in LOI's this season could earn him a test spot failing which he will return to power this line up down the order. James Franklin could retain his place that he secured last season ahead of the new acquisition Herschelle Gibbs at the start of this season.
Mumbai's bowling looks all the more penetrative now with the addition some useful bowlers. Lasith Malinga will lead the pack along with experienced spinner Harbhajan Singh, who will have a point to prove in the fixture, regarding his omission from the national set up. They will be supported by national team outcasts, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha and RP Singh, who will want to regain their places in the Indian team come the home season following this tournament. Their prized new addition Mitchell Johnson will also bolster the side immensely with his raw pace and ability to use the long handle in the death overs.
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