Which side would deliver the decisive punch in this clash of heavyweights? The powerful Chennai Super Kings can land telling blows and Chepauk is its bastion. The star-studded Mumbai Indians is not short of heavy-hitting men either.
Saturday’s game at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium has immense possibilities. The smarter team — one with greater self-belief too — could emerge victorious.
And there will be duels within the duel. A charged-up Mitchell Johnson could probe CSK’s influential opening pair of Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay. The speedy left-armer could extract some bounce out of the Chepauk track.
Dirk Nannes’ pace and swing could stoke maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s combative instinct. The gifted Rickey Ponting’s footwork could be in play against in-form off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
The sight of the two legends, Tendulkar and Ponting, seeking to whip up magic of old would add to the lustre of the match. Can the titans make the years fall away?
Then there will be Mahendra Singh Dhoni returning to the stage where he whipped up a spellbinding 224 against Australia in Test cricket only days ago. He is a formidable batsman in the game’s shortest format where he blends rotation of strike and hard-running with some thundering stroke-play.
His calmness of mind and that ability to live in the present moment while dictating the course of the future are his allies. To the CSK, he is an inspirational leader.
The host has the batting might and all-round talent with men such as Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin lending the line-up depth.
While there could be assistance to the pacemen due to the breeze from the Bay of Bengal flowing in through the large gaps between the stands, the track here could definitely assist the spinners in the later stages.
Ashwin, Jadeja and senior Mumbai Indians off-spinner Harbhajan Singh could be in the thick of things.
Dinesh Karthik could impact the game too. The wicket-keeper batsman will be in familiar territory at Chepauk. Some of Karthik’s uninhibited strokeplay for Mumbai Indians has been sensational.
Then, we have the imposing Kieron Pollard. This match will not be short of potential game-changers.