IPL returns to UAE today as familiar foes take centre stage
The last time these two teams met, Mumbai clinched a thriller by four wickets , (BCCI/IPL)
The last time these two teams met, Mumbai clinched a thriller by four wickets , (BCCI/IPL)

IT felt like dystopian reality TV the last time it was on, but the IPL is back now, during a time when the world seems to need any kind of cricket.

It felt like dystopian reality TV when it rumbled on, seemingly indifferent to the reality beyond its bubble, as India gasped for breath in the cruelest weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s back now, and things are different. It’s back at a time when the world seems to need it – or any cricket, really – desperately. After Old Trafford, after Rawalpindi.

There’s a reassuring familiarity to the contest that will kick things off again. Mumbai versus Chennai, Rohit versus Dhoni, comfort food for a generation of cricket fans. The last installment of this rivalry produced an all-time T20 classic, and while events on the field may or may not be as exciting this time around, you’ll hope that events off it are as dull and predictable as they possibly can be in the world we live in today.

Super Kings are set to miss two key overseas stars. Sam Curran only arrived in the UAE on September 15, and is yet to complete his mandatory quarantine period, while Faf du Plessis is still to fully recover from the groin strain that kept him out of the knockout stage of the St Lucia Kings’ CPL campaign.

It’s not yet known if Dwayne Bravo will be able to bowl for Super Kings. Nursing a groin injury through the second half of the CPL, he didn’t bowl in any of the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots’ last five matches.

Likely XIs
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Moeen Ali, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Josh Hazlewood.

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Adam Milne/Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Jayant Yadav/Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

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