Will the EL-CLASSICO of IPL be the same in 2023?
Posted March 04, 2023 in IPL.
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 the current IPL champion Gujarat Titans and four-time IPL champion Chennai Super Kings. After a wait of three years, the IPL will be back with its away and home format and 14 games for each team. a two-group format with two games against the opposing group teams and one game each versus the team 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, will lock horns at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on the 6th of May for the 1000th match of the IPL’s 16-year-old journey. while the two sides have given the fans countless memories. Whether it would be last-over sixes by MSD to win matches or a comeback out of nowhere from Pollard to take Mumbai home against Chennai, the funny banter between Bravo and Pollard engages fans like street fighters, as do the battles between Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. The MI vs. CSK clash has it all—the right amount of spice, flavor, and quantity for the fans to rejoice over it over and over again.
After 2019, M.A. Chidambaram will host an IPL game: How does Mumbai fare in the Chidambaram stadium?
The two teams have played each other on 34 occasions, out of which Chennai has won on 14 occasions whereas Mumbai has always had the upper hand, winning 20 matches. The battle is expected to be similar this year, as Chennai will play at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium for the first time in three years. The record for Chennai versus Mumbai at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium is worse against any touring opponent, as they have lost 5 out of the 7 games played at this venue. The last time both teams faced off in Chennai was way back in 2019, for the 1st 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.
What’s new, and what should we expect from the two most successful teams?
After the most entertaining and nerve-wracking players, Keiron 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 the 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 the 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 Ben Stokes for Chennai and Cameron Green for Mumbai. In the fast-bowling department, Mumbai seems to have a slight edge with Bumrah and Jofra both available for selection, but given the history of spinners at the Chidambaram stadium, Chennai will have a rather better combination to play at the Chidambaram with Mumbai having only two full-time spinners, Piyush Chawla and Kumar Kartikeya, with IPL experience, whereas Chennai has Maheesh Theekshana, Ravindra Jadeja, and Moen 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 quick-fire 20-ball, 40-ball, and 30-ball innings that could do the trick at the Chidambaram.
Out of the 10 players who have scored the highest runs for CSK in the games against MI since 2008, only MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu will be part of the current squad, making it only 2 out of the 10 highest scorers against MI who are still playing for CSK. Similar is the situation with MI, out of the 10 top run scorers versus CSK, only Rohit Sharma and Surya Kumar 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. 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 23.31. 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 Indian captain MSD three times. Bumrah has also dismissed Rayudu and Shivam Dube twice each.
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 MSD and Ben Stokes twice, and the batters have found it difficult to go big against the leg-spinner. Mumbai’s eight-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 MSD, Jadeja, Moen Ali, and Ben Stokes in domestic T20.
After all the controversies regarding Jaddu'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. SKY, who scores at the speed of a McLaren with a strike rate of 136.78, becomes a slow-moving bullock cart when facing Jadeja, with a strike rate of just 78.2. While Deepak Chahar too has been impressive against MI, dismissing Rohit Sharma twice, it will be important to see his fitness levels before the start of the IPL in 2023.
Thala Dhoni's reign in Chennai is more uncertain than ever.
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 also be playing his last IPL season. Chennai will not only miss MSD 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. With the old era of CSK and MI superstars almost coming to an end with only Dhoni, Jaddu, and Rayudu remaining for CSK and Rohit Sharma and Bumrah for MI, In this year's EL-Classico, the battle of the new generation of players will be the one to watch. Or, as the year progresses, will this match still be referred to as "El Classico" after 2023?
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