Dubai: All eyes were on Dubai as Dhoni-led CSK ready to lock horns with young and vibrant KKR in the finals of the IPL 2021 tonight.
KKR have been a resurgent force in this leg of the IPL and after just winning a couple of games in the India leg. They have steamrolled the opponents in UAE knocking out Royal Challengers Bangalore and then, the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The likes of Venkatesh Iyer with the bat, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy with the ball have added strength to the team. The IPL final is a contest between Chennai’s batsmen and Kolkata’s spinners.
Kolkata spinners’ economy-rate have been wonderful, all conceding less than seven runs per over. CSK batsmen are known to play spin better. One has to see what tactic that they adopt today against them.
For Kolkata, Shubman Gill, Tripathi and Rana are among runs. Skipper Morgan is still to find his touch. In the Qualifier 2 against Delhi, both Morgan and Karthik registered ducks against their name. Though Rahul Tripathi got them over the line, Kolkata will be concerned about the lack of runs from Morgan and Karthik.
For CSK, both openers Faf Duplessis and Gaikwad have done well. They have 1,150 runs between them in this IPL and also prefer to play straight, reducing risk factors. KKR’s Lockie Ferguson will look to stop Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad from firing at the top. In the edition so far, the pacer has scalped 13 wickets in just seven matches, which also included an impressive show against the Rajasthan Royals.
Robin Uthappa at No. 3 for CSK will be a good option. The likes of Dhoni, Jadeja and Bravo as finishers will help their cause. The bowlers, especially Shardul Thakur, have been clinching wickets at crucial times.
CSK have three titles with five final defeats while KKR have won both their finals under Gautam Gambhir.
As far as the numbers are concerned, Chennai Super Kings hold the edge in head to head clashes between both sides. In 25 matches between CSK and KKR, Chennai Super Kings have won 16 while KKR have won 8 games.
KKR will be favourite, says Adarsh,a cricket fan. He says, ‘At one stage, KKR were lying among the bottom half of the table, and it seemed like it would be a disappointing run for the franchise this season as well. But a stunning comeback in the UAE has made them a title contender. They are consistent. But CSK has had a mixed season’.
But Sudhakar opines that experience will come handy for CSK. They have got big match players who will deliver in crunch games, he states.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Venkatesh Iyer, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Nitish Rana, 4 Rahul Tripathi, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Shivam Mavi, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Lockie Ferguson
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Robin Uthappa, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Josh Hazlewood