IPL Final: CSK, MI ready to battle for fourth title

Chennai Super Kings will look to defend its title after reaching its eighth final in ten seasons, while Mumbai Indians looks well-balanced to win its fourth title.

The 2019 edition of the IPL will see Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians contesting in the final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad.

After 59 gruelling games in the 12 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it is only fitting to see the two most consistent teams — Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians — play the summit clash. Both the teams have won the IPL three times and a fourth in the kitty would be enough to give the bragging rights of being the best in the business and before the focus shifts to the ICC World Cup.

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Chennai Super Kings seems the experienced when it comes to playing the final with eight appearances in 10 seasons while for Mumbai Indians this will be the fifth appearance in 12 seasons. However, when it translates into success rate, Mumbai Indians clearly holds the edge — including two wins against CSK (in 2013 and 2015). For the record, Chennai Super Kings is the only team to successfully defend its IPL title (winning in 2010 and 2011).

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In the ongoing edition, it will be the fourth time these teams are meeting and MI has emerged victorious in all three. However, with the final being a different ball game, past records and statistics hold little prominence.

CSK’s opening woes seem sorted

Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis added 81 runs for the opening wicket in the second qualifier against Delhi Capitals.   -  IPL

 

Chennai Super Kings has struggled with its opening combination, this season. The openers have only averaged a measly 18, before the qualifiers. However, half-centuries from both Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis and an 81-run stand for the first wicket against Delhi Capitals in Qualifier II must have eased the nerves of the CSK management. That, only because Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose not to tinker with the opening combination despite several failures terming the duo as match winners on their day.

Suresh Raina (375 runs with a strike rate of 125), Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni (414 runs with a strike rate of 137), Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja form the middle order which boasts of plenty of experience in this format.

 

While spin might have been CSK’s strength, it was commendable to see Mumbai Indians negotiating the threat easily on all the three occasions they have played this season.

In the three matches that these teams have played, the CSK spinners (Harbhajan, Jadeja, Imrah Tahir and Mitchell Santner) have sent down 30 overs, given away 184 runs and picked up just eight wickets.

The CSK slow bowlers, on a weary Hyderabad track, would be hoping for a better show on Sunday.

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Imran Tahir, with 24 wickets, will win the Purple Cap if he takes two more. Deepak Chahar with 19 wickets has also been productive with the new ball for CSK.

Mumbai rejuvenated after a break

Quinton de Kock has been in scintillating form for Mumbai Indians at the top.   -  IPL

 

A four-day break after the first qualifier must have rejuvenated the Mumbai Indians camp.

The Mumbai outfit looks sorted in all departments of the game. The form of Quinton de Kock (500 runs in 15 matches at a strike rate of 131.23), Suryakumar Yadav with 409 runs striking at 133 and Rohit Sharma with 390 runs at 129.5 will be handy for Mumbai at the top with the astronomical strike rates of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard coming into play towards the end of the innings.

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Mumbai isn’t short of experience in the bowling department. Jasprit Bumrah with 17 wickets, Lasith Malinga with 15 and Hardik Pandya with 14 wickets have been effective and Rohit will bank on the experience of Bumrah and Malinga in the death to counter CSK’s attacking prowess.

Apart from the trio, Rohit also has the services of Krunal Pandya who has made the batsmen work hard for runs and has also been among wickets. His 11 wickets in 15 games with an economy rate of 6.88 will augur well for Rohit in the middle overs.

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Come Sunday, it will be a clear test of experience versus talent not forgetting the fact that unpredictability has been the constant in this edition of the IPL.

Numbers:

241 – The most number of runs scored in IPL finals, by Suresh Raina

117* - The highest individual score in IPL finals, by Shane Watson (vs SRH in 2018)

– The most number of wickets in IPL finals, by Dwayne Bravo

 

Head to head (29 matches) - Mumbai Indians – 17 | Chennai Super Kings – 12

 

This edition

At Wankhede Stadium: Mumbai Indians 170/5 beat Chennai Super Kings 133/8

At M.A. Chidambaram Stadium: Mumbai Indians 155/4 beat Chennai Super Kings 109

At M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (qualifier 1): Chennai Super Kings 131/4 lost to Mumbai Indians 132/4