In a desert, after travelling for hours or days without food or water, an individual starts seeing illusions of survival. When he stumbles upon a mirage, his hopes shatter. However, when he stumbles upon an oasis in the middle of a desert, the joy and the reason to live multiples exponentially. In a way, the IPL 2020 being played in a desert is an apt summation of the human life in 2020. Decimated by coronavirus, chaos, confusion and total depression, IPL 2020 is like an island of tranquility that has boosted the morale of sports fans amidst all the death and devastation that pandemic has wrecked upon the world.
In a year that has seen the Tokyo Olympics, Wimbledon get cancelled and the ICC World T20 postponed, the hosting of the Indian Premier League is a tonic for many depressed sports fans. Ignore the fact that it will be played in a ‘new normal’, with no fans. Ignore the fact that it will be in a bio-secure environment, where players will be isolated and there will be zero contact with the outside world.
When the first ball of IPL 2020 is bowled, people will automatically start feeling normal. The normal that was before the coronavirus. It is apt that Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, two teams that have won seven out of the 12 IPL titles in total are kicking off the tournament. After 440 days, MS Dhoni will finally put on a cricketing gear and unleash his helicopter, aggression and brilliant captaincy. In between his final international match and the announcement of his retirement in August 2015, the world has changed in more ways than one. When Dhoni steps out on the field donning the CSK jersey, people will think it is still 2019 or 2018.
For Rohit Sharma, it will be a continuation of the domination that Mumbai Indians has set. After not looking like winning the trophy at the start of the tournament, Mumbai Indians are now the established gold standard when it comes to IPL dominance and one has to thank Rohit and the entire staff of coaches at their disposal. Mumbai Indians are the only team to have a positive head-to-head ratio against Chennai Super Kings. They have won three IPL titles by beating MS Dhoni’s team. Safe to say, it is a no-brainer that bookies are tipping Mumbai Indians for the title despite this being a ‘non-odd’ year.
Mumbai Indians side looks settled but they will rue the absence of Lasith Malinga, something that Rohit Sharma pointed out in the press conference. Chennai Super Kings, with their preparations thrown into disarray due to the coronavirus in their squad, have rebounded brilliantly and are all set for taking on the Mumbai Indians juggernaut. Ruturaj Gaikwad will miss the match as he is still recovering from COVID. There are no replacements for Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who withdrew due to personal reasons. Dhoni will have to call upon his entire management skills to ensure Chennai Super Kings have all the bases covered.
Probable Playing XIs
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
Match: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings
Date and Time: 19th September, 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Sheikh Abu Zayed stadium, Abu Dhabi
Mumbai Indians have won the last five encounters against Chennai Super Kings, which included an unprecedented four out of four in IPL 2019. Overall, their head-to-head record is 17-11 in favour of Mumbai Indians.