The top two sides in IPL history go head-to-head on Wednesday. Paul Krishnamurty says a gulf is opening up between CSK and Mumbai...
"Chennai are rated the superior side. Mumbai's bowlers haven't contained anyone yet and are vulnerable on their home ground."
Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings
Wednesday, 15:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)
Mumbai veterans reveal lack of depth
Champions in three of the last six IPLs, Mumbai are in a spot of trouble. They've lost two from three and the problems appear glaringly obvious. While they will win games on the back of an elite opening pair, they lack depth.
Their bowlers were again put to the sword by Punjab last time, with only Jasprit Bumrah demonstrating control. In Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga, they are carrying three IPL legends now past their best.
Chennai remain as formidable as ever
As sure as night follows day, Chennai look bankers for the play-offs. The defending champions have won three from three, all with something to spare. Contributions have been spread throughout a well-balanced team.
It didn't always look simple against Rajasthan last time until MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo demonstrated their famous batting depth. Their 175 total was matched at double digit odds when struggling on 27-3.
CSK could make hay at the Wankhede
This season's first match at the Wankhede Stadium confirmed this is a venue where extremely high scores are in play. Delhi's 213 matched last season's highest and there was a 230 in 2018. Par however is around the low 170s - of 22 matches dating back to 2016, 45% saw a first innings total between 160 and 180.
Before choosing which way to bet, we must wait for the toss. If Chennai bat first, I'll be happy to take 2.47/5 about 180 or more and 3.55/2 about 190 plus.
If Mumbai bat first, it might pay to have a speculative punt in the other direction. If their openers can be removed cheaply, 150 could become quite a challenge. That should be available to lay around 1.330/100.
Superior Chennai rate a solid bet
Historically there has been an advantage for the chasing side at the Wankhede, although the last ten matches were shared 5-5. The odds will probably move on the basis of the toss but, regardless, I'm backing the visitors at only marginally below even money.
For all the reasons explained above, Chennai are rated the superior side. Mumbai's bowlers haven't contained anyone yet and are vulnerable on their home ground.
So far, the Mumbai top scorer market has been won once each by Rohit, De Kock and Yuvraj - available today at 11/5, 11/4 and 6/1 respectively. 3/1 chance Evin Lewis is yet to play but will have a frontline chance when he does.
The Chennai list is similarly hard to separate, with Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina all holding similar claims at odds ranging from 11/4 to 16/5. Dhoni was magnificent last time and is tempting at 13/2 to repeat.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
2019 IPL Stats:
Back Chennai Super Kings 5u @ 1.9310/11