Chennai: Familiar foes and the two most successful teams of the IPL — Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) — clash in a mouth-watering final here Sunday, following a rather eventful season that produced some unprecedented moments on the field.
It can’t be disputed that Mumbai go into the final as the favourites, having beaten CSK as many as three times earlier in the tournament including in qualifier 1 in Chennai Tuesday. However, statistics count for little going into the title fight with both teams being in the situation earlier, multiple times.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai can certainly take confidence out of the fact they have won three out of the four finals they have been part of, including the two against CSK, in 2013 and 2015. For three-time champions CSK, who have entered their eighth final, it has been another remarkable season after last year when they made a triumphant return after having served a two-year suspension. Whatever the outcome, the finals here will add another memorable chapter to their longtime rivalry.
CSK will have to redraw their plans against Mumbai, who have beaten them convincingly three times this season. Rohit and Co have dealt with CSK’s spin threat smartly while other teams’ batsmen struggled against the experience trio of Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.
CSK pacer Deepak Chahar, too, has been impressive with 19 wickets so far. Going into qualifier 2, the lack of runs from Shane Watson’s bat was a concern but he regained his touch with a 32-ball 50 against Delhi Capitals.
Mumbai, on the other hand, will be well-rested following a four-day break and backing themselves for a fourth win over Dhoni’s side this season and fourth IPL title.
Harbhajan Singh has shown a lot of confidence while bowling for CSK in IPL. At 38, he has turned the clock this IPL season more than once, taking crucial wickets during the tournament to help CSK reach their record eighth final in 10 years. He exactly knows where to bowl for certain batsmen. His bowling was outstanding, he got some beautiful shape on the ball again.
Similarly, Imran Tahir bowls with guts. He flights the delivery and manages to get the right shape. He has taken 24 wickets so far.
Total matches -27
MI won – 16
CSK won – 11
FROM THE PAST
In 2010, CSK defeated Mumbai Indians by 22 runs to lift the IPL trophy. CSK has reached the final eight times and won the trophy thrice.
WATCH OUT FOR
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jusprit Bumrah (MI), Dhoni, du Flessis, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir (CSK)
CHENNAI SPECIAL IN IPL 2019
Runs scored by Dhoni – 414
Ravindra Jadeja’s economy – 6.36
Tahir’s best figures – 4/12 (against DC)
M S Dhoni’s strike-rate – 137.54