The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) is around the corner and the opening game of the tournament will see two heavyweights Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) locking horns with each other on September 19. Dubbed as one of the fiercest and intriguing rivalries in IPL, the fans are eagerly waiting with baited breaths to watch the action go down.
Going by statistics, MS Dhoni-led CSK and Rohit Sharma-led MI are the best two teams in IPL since its inception in 2008. CSK is the only team to have qualified for a knockout stage in every edition of IPL in which the Chennai-based franchise has participated, while Mumbai Indians have won the most number of IPL titles (4).
It’s no hidden fact that both the teams boast of some of the biggest T20 cricket stars, and both the franchises have a fierce team poster capable of defeating any team on their day.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 5 player battles that fans can get to witness during the mouthwatering opening clash of IPL 2020 on September 19.
MS Dhoni vs Rohit Sharma
Dhoni and Rohit are the two most successful captains in the history of the cash-rich league as they share seven titles between them. The players will once again be put to acid test when their teams lock horns on the opening day of IPL 2020.
While Rohit is a step ahead of Dhoni having led Mumbai Indians to four IPL crowns while the latter has won three IPL trophies with CSK. However, Dhoni remains ahead of his MI counterpart when it comes to most wins as captain in IPL history. The wicketkeeper-batsman is also the first skipper to win 100 IPL games.
As a captain Rohit himself has learned the trick of the trades from Dhoni while playing under the former India captain for the Men in Blue. Both the players bring calmness to the dressing room.
The final of IPL 2019 saw Rohit leading Mumbai Indians to a thrilling one-run win over Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings to go past the veteran wicket-keeper batsman as the most successful captain in the league.
Kieron Pollard vs Dwayne Bravo
Windies all-rounder Pollard, who joined the franchise in 2010, has been a constant for the past 10 seasons for Mumbai Indians. He too like Malinga and Rohit was a part of four IPL titles with the franchise. Besides his powerful batting, his athletic fielding makes him an invaluable asset for the franchise. Off late in the last few seasons, Pollard has not bowled much for the team, still, he continues to be an important part of the playing XI. Along with Rohit, Pandya and Bumrah, Pollard forms the core of the side.
On the other hand, Dwayne Bravo has become a key figure for CSK. The 36-year old is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the league. He is one of the go-to players for MSD when he is looking for wickets. The Windies player is also an electric wire on the field, to add to that he can swing his bat and score some important runs at the end.
It would be a treat to watch Bravo showcase his talents yet again and take the team over the line. The right-hander has clinched 147 wickets in his 134 IPL matches and he has scored 1483 runs at an average of 23 and strike-rate of 129 with 5 fifties.
Shane Watson vs Chris Lynn
39-year-old Watson, who was bought by CSK during the IPL 2018 auction, has scored 953 runs in 32 matches for the franchise in the last two years, besides capturing six wickets.
Watson has proven himself to be a man of the big occasion as he rarely fails to deliver in big matches. Interestingly, the Australian smashed his highest score (117*) in the final of the 2018 edition against SunRisers Hyderabad. And now with the absence of the likes of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh from the CSK camp, Watson will be an important member on whom the franchise will be banking on to deliver. Capable of opening both batting and bowling, Watson will be a key part of CSK’s plans for IPL 2020.
On the other end, opening the batting for MI will be the big-hitting Australian batsman Chris Lynn who was picked up by the franchise for 2 crores during IPL 2020 auction. Lynn was a part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad in the last season before they released him. He amassed 405 runs in 13 matches at a strike-rate of 139.65. Overall, Lynn has scored 1280 runs in 41 games, with 93 being his best.
Chris will pump up the Mumbai squad, which already have some big stars like Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, and Kieron Pollard. One good thing for Lynn will be that he won’t have to face Bumrah and the Aussie can cause serious damage to any bowling lineup on his day.
Hardik Pandya vs Ravindra Jadeja
Hardik Pandya is heralded for his destructive batting and his accurate bowling is testing times. An extremely acrobatic fielder, Pandya can win matches with bat as well as ball and he is a perfect all-rounder choice for all the formats. The 26-year-old has a total of 71 sixes in the international cricket in all three formats and 68 sixes in IPL.
On the contrary, Ravindra Jadeja is known for his deceiving bowling as well as swashbuckling batting. Time and again, the southpaw has produced some shots which are a sight to watch.
Pandya and Jadeja are two reliable cricketers and their respective teams will be heavily reliant on them to churn results out in their favour.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Lungi Ngidi
Bumrah is undoubtedly the fulcrum of the Mumbai Indians bowling lineup and the franchise will be once again heavily reliant on the pacer to bag wickets in crucial stages as he had so effortlessly being doing that for MI ever since his debut in the IPL.
In 77 matches, he took 82 wickets at an average of 26.62 with an economy rate of 7.56. His best bowling performance in IPL is 3 for 7.
On the other side of the coin, there’s 24-year old South African speedster Lungi Ngidi who is yet to prove a point in IPL. But there is no doubt about his capabilities and he is one of the best upcoming bowlers in the international circuit.
The pacer is relatively new to IPL with only 7 matches to his name but he has picked up 68 wickets in the international arena in just 31 matches. He is truly capable of delivering at crucial stages and CSK would most likely be using him to full potential this time around. Ngidi has impressive figures of 4/10 in the IPL and has managed to pick up 11 wickets at a jaw-dropping strike-rate of 16 and economy of 6, his economy could be considered one of the best if he is to maintain it in the long run.