Chennai Super Kings Vs Mumbai Indians
April 18, 2009
And Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be the first to acknowledge that his success as Team India captain has had a lot to do with Tendulkar's performances.
Now Dhoni, leading Team Chennai, has to face the wrath of the Little Master, when they take on Mumbai Indians in the opener of IPL 2 in the far-off shores of the Atlantic -- the picturesque Newlands in Cape Town.
What makes it all the more interesting is the fact that Tendulkar has already announced that he won't play international T20 cricket while Dhoni had proved himself as a skipper for the first time in South Africa two years back, leading India to the World T20 triumph.
T20 is easily Dhoni's bastion and if Tendulkar can inspire his team to a win against Team Chennai, the Little Master can afford a quiet smile of satisfaction.
And Tendulkar has got all the ammunition in the world to turn the heat on last year's runners-up. A supreme opening partner in Sanath Jayasuriya, a solid middle-order led by the stylish South African batsman JP Duminy, and a decent pace-attack led by the in-form Zaheer Khan. All that has created a buzz around the Mumbai Indians.
It's likely that all rounder Dwayne Bravo and medium-pacer Kyle Mills will fill up the other two foreigner's slot in the Mumbai outfit.
But if Mumbai are blessed with balance, so are Team Chennai. Matthew Hayden's retirement from international cricket has come as a big boon for Dhoni's men and the burly Aussie has to play a huge role at the top of the order if Chennai are to do well in South African conditions.
Hayden knows all about playing on these tracks and it's pretty obvious that the Chennai top-order will look to play around him.
Another trump-card for Dhoni is Andrew Flintoff, provided he is 100 per cent fit. The England allrounder is available only for a couple of weeks and Chennai will expect to get the best out of him in this period.
Flintoff, of course, will be backed by another superb all-rounder in Albie Morkel, who is in great touch at the moment.
The duo will lead the Chennai bowling attack as well, but it'll be interesting to see how well they're backed up by the likes of Lakshmipathy Balaji and MS Gony.
Dhoni also has the guile of Muttiah Muralitharan to fall back upon, but it's to be seen whether he is able to work his magic in the shortest format of the game in South African conditions.