Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has always been one of the most intense rivalries in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with Rohit Sharma also terming it as ‘El Clasico’ of the cash-rich league. Batting great Sachin Tendulkar opened up about what makes this match-up so intense and what he expects from the tournament’s opening clash between two of the most successful teams in IPL history. The former Mumbai Indians opener hailed the never-die attitude of both the sides, riding on which they have been able to win matches from difficult situations on many occasions.

The batting maestro, who was part of Mumbai Indians in 2013 when they won their maiden IPL title, credited the “strong fanbase” of both the sides also as an important factor that brings out the best in the players.

“For any tournament to succeed, you need rivalries. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings we both have very strong fanbase. Both are extremely competitive. There have been occasions where Mumbai Indians were pushed badly in a corner and we have been able to pull through and win that game and the same thing has happened also with Chennai Super Kings,” Tendulkar said in a video tweeted by Mumbai Indians.

Sachin also opined that this rivalry has also contributed to the mass popularity of the tournament as people love to watch the fierce rivalry unfold in the middle.

He expects the two sides to play with the same intensity like they have in the past and once again entertain the fans, who will be glued to their television sets in different parts of the world.

“It makes the competition unpredictable and when there is a sense of unpredictability people get glued to the television sets. That is the beauty of any sport. But when it’s played at the highest level and so fiercely completive people like to see that and this year also it’s not going to be any different,” he added.

Sachin, who is the mentor of the Mumbai-based franchise, has not travelled with the team to the UAE but expects the two new signings — Chris Lynn and Nathan Coulter-Nile — to play a key role in side’s IPL 2020 campaign, which kick-starts today.

“Chris Lynn when it comes to those explosive starts, he is tremendous. Nathan Coulter-Nile swinging the ball up front and then bowling those death overs also chipping in with his bat. All in all, the balance is really nice. Of course, Mumbai Indians as a squad earlier as anyways good. But it’s strengthened much more with these two inclusions.

In a repeat of last year’s summit clash, Mumbai Indians begin their title defence when they take on Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

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