After 59 gruelling matches, it has come down to the same contest: Mumbai vs Chennai – the three-time winners. Haven’t we seen enough Mumbai-Chennai contests? Every time they square up, we call it the El Clasico of the IPL. We are indeed bored of it. Wait. Are we, really?
Chennai look invincible at home. They beat every team. They do not care who is in form. In fact, they do not care about the data or statistics. You open the points table and you see them at the top. Then, thud. They lock horns with Mumbai, who previously had been losing. The team that once looked invincible gets reduced to nothingness. They lose at home after 6 long years, and it is Mumbai who again remind them they aren’t the only best team in the tournament.
There’s no iota of doubt that we are bored of watching the Mumbai-Chennai contests, but we haven’t seen it all. These teams, time and again, prove us wrong. There’s always more for us.
Deadline: May 12, 2019 at 7.30 PM IST
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have a partnership of 185 runs here. They registered 232 for 2, the highest score this season. If anything, there hasn’t been a better pitch this season. The venue for the final was moved from Chennai to Hyderabad, and it is nothing but a blessing in disguise. Expect a high-scoring, edge-of-the-seat thriller.
Probable XI for Mumbai: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan/Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan/Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
Probable XI for Chennai: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), DJ Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar
We have opted for a fantasy team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
Note that you can now change your team after the toss. You can also check players’ performances in the last 5 matches. Tap on the players’ names to get the data while making your fantasy cricket team.
My XI: Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Shane Watson, Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Faf du Plessis, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir (vc), Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar
Choosing between Dhoni and de Kock is a tough choice. De Kock has scored 86 runs more than Dhoni, but the Chennai captain has far more dismissals, along with spectacular innings at crucial junctures to his name. The choice is yours. Remember, the pitch is a featherbed for the batters. De Kock opens and Dhoni’s batting positions changes according to the team’s need.
Watson has only three good innings this season. Other teams would have dropped him but not Chennai. They believe in giving longer rope to players who performed their best in the past for the team. Watson is one of them. All his top scores – 44, 50, and 96 – have won Chennai the game. We witnessed his importance against Delhi on Friday. On a slow and low track, Watson reduced the bowlers to nothingness.
His opening partner Faf du Plessis looked like he was the youngest player: he saved important runs, dove to take stunning catches, and batted at a strike rate that a young and fearless batter does. With Watson and du Plessis at the top, Mumbai’s tasks gets only tougher.
Mumbai have the duo of Malinga and Bumrah: the men armed with sling-shot actions but with different variety. Bumrah has taken 17 wickets from 15 matches, while Malinga has grabbed 15 from 11 including two four-wicket hauls.
Mumbai have an equally good batting line-up. We have already highlighted de Kock’s form this season. They also Rohit, who on his day showcases his stroke play that is beyond our thought process. If he goes back early, Suryakumar, with his zen-like focus, brings Mumbai back into the game. And then there are Hardik and Pollard, the men who ridicule run rates.
Against them will be Tahir, the second-highest wicket-taker of the season. He is 2 wickets away from dethroning Kagiso Rabada from the top. His fellow spinner Harbhajan has been no less, taking 17 wickets in 15 matches. Before these two take centre stage, Chahar already sets the foundation with his accurate bowling.
To put things into perspective, we are in for a humdinger of a final.