CSK vs MI: Which franchise has a better squad?
Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have each won the Indian Premier League (IPL) a record three times. Both these sides have played some extraordinary cricket and depend on their core players to give them the edge. CSK, in particular, have been on a different level in terms of consistency and focus. Here, we compare the squads of these two franchises.
CSK's batsmen are well versed and experienced in this format. There have the firepower which sees them dominate proceedings. CSK are well sorted and there are plenty of match-winners. MS Dhoni's presence provides the extra cushion. Mumbai lack the overall composure possessed by CSK. They might be equipped at the top, but their middle-order is questionable. All in all, the balance is missing.
Mumbai need to identify their best options and plan accordingly. Will we see skipper Rohit Sharma come out as an opener and lay a strong foundation? CSK's famed batting unit can continue from where they left off in 2018. CSK's batting is much stronger.
Mumbai, like usual, will depend on Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal. Krunal's recent performances for India in T20Is will help him to read situations better. Veteran Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting are seasoned players. CSK have regular match-winners like Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja. New Zealand's Mitchell Santner will want to excel in his debut season. There are some strong part-time names as well.
In terms of quality of all-rounders, there is nothing to separate the two teams. However, Mumbai need to take a leaf out of CSK's playbook. Chennai pulled off some incredible wins last season to show how crucial are good all-rounders in this format.
CSK are spin heavy and there have plenty of quality options to choose from. Further, utility players like Kedar Jadhav and Suresh Raina can chip in with the ball. Their pacers have the right attributes as well. MI are pace-oriented and have a pool of quality pacers at their disposal. India's Jasprit Bumrah is their best bet. However, spin is where Mumbai look short.
In terms of overall balance, CSK's bowling unit is well ahead of Mumbai. Dhoni knows how to get the spinners rolling. He also rotates the pacers well. All foreign pacers of Mumbai will not play together and this suggests the imbalance present in the squad.
The two teams met each other twice last season and they shared the spoils. CSK sealed a thriller at the Wankhede as they won the opener by one wicket. MI won in Pune by eight wickets with two balls to spare. The two sides have played against each other 24 times in IPL. Mumbai have won 13 times, whereas, Chennai have pocketed 11 victories.