Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians: Resurgent Dhoni rolling back the years

MS Dhoni has scored 209 runs at 69.66 in IPL2018
MS Dhoni has scored 209 runs at 69.66 in IPL2018
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In-form CSK take on a beleaguered Mumbai Indians in a contest they have already won once this season. James Buttler thinks it's a safe bet that MS Dhoni's boys will succeed again...

"Chennai, after a two-year enforced absence, needed their captain and talisman MS Dhoni to lead, inspire and be their catalyst for success. The Indian legend has exceeded expectations, leading with authority and winning matches with bat in hand. His 209 tournament runs at an average of 69.66 have come at a meteoric strike-rate of 165.87 to stick two fingers up at pundits who had begun to write the 36-year-old off."

Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians
Saturday April 28, 15:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Dhoni the star but Chennai's success a team effort

Chennai, after a two-year enforced absence, needed their captain and talisman MS Dhoni to lead, inspire and be their catalyst for success. The Indian legend has exceeded expectations, leading with authority and winning matches with bat in hand. His 209 tournament runs at an average of 69.66 have come at a meteoric strike-rate of 165.87 to stick two fingers up at pundits who had begun to write the 36-year-old off.

But CSK's success this season is a genuine team effort. Ambati Rayudu (283), Shane Watson (191), Suresh Raina (129) and Dwayne Bravo (118) have all passed 100 runs in six innings or less. Equally, the bowling attack has shared the wickets, with Shardal Thakur leading the line with eight wickets and Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Watson and Bravo taking six apiece.

Under par Mumbai need to score more heavily

Mumbai have disappointed. Their defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad last time out, chasing only 119 to win and being rolled for 87 showed a side short of belief. While Dhoni is leading CSK from the front, the pivotal man for Mumbai is Rohit Sharma and he has fired just once in six innings. The skippers 94 against RCB a couple of games ago came in Mumbai's only win of the tournament and shows how crucial he can be. When Rohit succeeds Mumbai play to win. In his other five innings this season, Sharma has managed only 46 more runs. That is a major concern.

A few bright spots for Mumbai... Suryakumar Yadav has been consistent with 230 runs at 38.33, while Ishan Kishan continues to show huge promise as the 19-year-old a rapid 151 runs in his six knocks.

With the ball, not much was known about Mayank Markande, the 20 year-old leg-spinner who has taken 10 wickets. Markande however is now a recognised threat and his early burst of seven wickets in the first two games has been followed by three in the following four matches. Perhaps he is being treated with more respect now, but there is no doubt his surprise package has lost impact. The Pandya brothers and Jasprit Bumrah are always weaopons as bowlers, but Mumbai need to post higher scores for their effect to become match-winning.

Super Kings rightful favourites

CSK took initial bragging rights when beating Mumbai in the IPL 2018 opening match at the Wankhede Stadium. For CSK the win heralded a tremendous start to the tournament where they have notched five wins in their first six matches. For Mumbai the reverse was true with four further defeats and just one win leaving them at the rear end of the table.

These two side have played each other 25 times with Mumbai edging the head-to-heads by 13 wins to 12. Previous stats are a little misleading with no games between the sides before that since 2015. Mumbai had won both games that season.

The price of [1.79] for a CSK win may appear short, but momentum is huge in T20s and it's all with Dhoni's side.

Rayudu to continue good form

With runs shared around the top order so far this market is a thumb in the air job. Rayudu is leading scorer so far and at 10/3 third favourite takes the main stake.

Raina, with 624, has scored the most runs in this contest, but then again he's played in them all too. Dhoni, at 6/1, takes a half-stakes nibble as the form horse in the field and with 550 runs in this fixture down the years comes into a game he enjoys in fine fettle.

Yadav a sensible bet

Despite Rohit Sharma's inconsistency, he is still by far the best batsman in the top order and because of his failures has drifted in the market to 7/2. That could easily appeal to many, although Yadav at 7/2 is a far more sensible bet than both Sharma and West Indian Evin Lewis who bizarrely leads the market at 13/5 despite not top scoring in any of the six matches played so far.

Value in overall top scorer market

Some great prices in this market as you have to pick two winners. In this game I'm taking MS Dhoni to do his stuff again for CSK and Yadav to top score for Mumbai. Double them up in this market at a very attractive 25/1.

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*Follow James on Twitter @cricket_badger

James Buttler's IPL 2018 P/L

Staked: 18pts
Returned: 16.6pts
P/L: -1.4pts

At IPL 2017

Staked: 47pts
Returned: 50.36pts
P/L: +3.36pts

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