New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League will kick off on Saturday with MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings taking on defending Champions Mumbai Indians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The two sides will be meeting for the first time after the dramatic IPL 2019 final where MI beat CSK by 1 run to lift the trophy for the record fourth time. Mumbai Indians enjoy a 17-11 lead over the MS Dhoni men.

This year, the two teams will be missing the service of some of their key players. Chennai Super Kings will be playing the tournament without its star players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, while Mumbai Indians won’t have its finest death bowler Lasith Malinga.

Speaking about the strengths of Chennai, the MS Dhoni side has a lot of experience. In the batting department, the team has the likes of Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni. These players can single handedly win matches for their team.

Despite the absence of Harbhajan Singh, the team still has one of the most potent spin-bowling attacks with the likes of Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner and Piyush Chawla. Apart from loads of experience, another thing which might favour Chennai is the slow pitches in the UAE which might assist the spinners.

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, has one of the best pace attacks amid all teams, despite the absence of Lasith Malinga. The team also has a power packed middle order, with players such as Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, and Suryakumar Yadav.

Probable Xi for both sides:

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan (Wk), Surya Kumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (Captain, WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar

Prediction: UAE’s slow pitches may assist the formidable spin bowling attack of CSK and so the team is expected to defeat Mumbai Indians in the opening encounter.

Posted By: Lakshay Raja