Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will lock horns with Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 1 of the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 in front of a packed Mumbai crowd at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
CSK, who have been the most consistent side of the IPL, having qualified for the Playoff stages every single season, will be facing a tough task against the Rohit Sharma-led MI. MI have made a dramatic turnaround after their awful start to the tournament to finish at second position in the standings.
The two sides faced each other last year in the Eliminator where CSK outplayed MI before losing out to the runners up of the last season, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), in Qualifier 2.
Let's have a look at some of the key battles expected from this thrilling encounter:
1. Michael Hussey Vs Lasith Malinga - There are doubts whether Michael Hussey would be able to replicate what Brendon McCullum did throughout the season to give CSK just the kind of start they wanted. But keeping in mind what Hussey has done earlier for CSK, he will be a crucial player today against the likes of Lasith Malinga, who would be raring to go at CSK with the home support.
2. Suresh Raina Vs Mitchell McClenaghan - Raina has never missed a single match since 2008 for CSK and that proves how important he is for the men in yellow. He can muscle the ball a long way and his ability to find the gaps in the field makes him a special player. He has not had an impressive tournament so far this season but would look to make it count in the most important match. Meanwhile, McClenagahan has been the surprise package for MI as he has bowled brilliantly upfront as well as in the death overs.
3. Lendl Simmons Vs Ashish Nehra - Simmons has been the silent hero for MI for the past two seasons. This season he has played 11 matches and has amassed 407 runs, and would look to add some more runs to his name. Nehra on the other hand has showcased some brilliant left-arm fast bowling and is one of the highest wicket takers in the ongoing tournament. He would look to add some more scalps to his name.
4. Rohit Sharma Vs Ravichandran Ashwin - These two might have faced each other a number of times in the nets while donning the Indian jersey, but on Thursday they will be up against each other to help their respective sides to reach the final. Rohit is arguably the best batsman for MI while Ashwin is one of the best in business when it comes to limited overs bowling.
5. Faf du Plessis Vs Harbhajan Singh - Faf has been a floater in the CSK squad and can bat at any position when asked by skipper MS Dhoni. He is one of the better timers of the ball in his side and Harbhajan Singh would try to fox him with his variations. Harbhajan has been an important aspect for MI and he would look to bring in his experience into this match to prove his worth.