The curtains will finally come down upon the month-long carnival of Indian Premier League, 2018 on Sunday when Chennai Super Kings face Sunrisers Hyderabad in the summit clash of IPL 11 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Led by the charismatic MS Dhoni, the Super Kings will be aiming for a third IPL crown while Kane Williamson and his orange army will be focussed to score one over their nemesis this season. Both the teams have met each other on three occasions so far with Chennai recording victories in all of them. The last instance was in qualifier 1, where CSK did a jailbreak to enter their seventh IPL final. SRH, on the other hand, had to take the long winding route of facing KKR in the second qualifier and beat them at Eden Gardens on Friday to finally book a spot in the finals.
CSK and SRH have faced each other nine times and the Super Kings hold the edge over their southern rivals with 7 wins. CSK’s 100 percent win record this season also gives them the psychological advantage of their opponents. Another worrying factor for the Sunrisers will be their poor record at the Wankhede where they have a 1-4 win-loss record in IPL matches. CSK, on the other hand, have a much better ratio of 5-6.
While SRH’s bowling versus CSK’s batting is tipped to be the deciding factor of this encounter, the outcome of such high-voltage finals is often decided by several interesting clashes that will be fought between players from both the sides.
Rashid Khan vs MS Dhoni certainly promises to be one of them. In the second qualifier, Rashid showed his all-round capabilities as he single-handedly dumped KKR out of the tournament. But if there is one man who can negate his threat with the bat then it will be MS Dhoni.
SRH skipper Kane Williamson has been the highest run scorer for his side (688 runs). In the big finals, he will once again shoulder the responsibility of giving a good start at the top of the order to set up the platform for those coming down the order. However, CSK’s new ball weapon- Deepak Chahar will pose a threat to the Kiwi batsman. Chahar has featured in only 11 matches so far but made quite an impact with the new ball in his hand, picking up 10 wickets at an economical rate of 7.5.
Both the teams also boast of some of the biggest impact players in the world of cricket. CSK will be wary of the threat that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul possess and also have an eye on the destructive powers of all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite. SRH also need to keep a check on CSK’s highest scorer -Amabti Rayudu (580 runs), opener Shane Watson and Suresh Raina to stop the game from slipping away from their hands.
While the average first and second innings scores on this ground is 187 and 183, the last few encounters have resulted in low scoring contests due to the sluggish nature of the pitch. The highest total on this ground is 230/8 which was chased down by England against South Africa in 2016. Hence, for the finals, a high scoring belter of a pitch may well be on the cards.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Deepak Chahar, K M Asif, Kanish Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshtiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willy.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (C ), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.