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by Mayukh Bhattacharya & IPL Media Saturday 26 May 2018
A seventh final awaits the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as they take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), who finally managed to end their losing streak against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final qualifier. Regardless of the result, the match would bring to an end, a remarkable return for the team in yellow, who returned to the event after a two-year exile.
IPL Final 2018
Chennai Super Kings V Sunrisers Hyderabad
May 27, 2018
19:00 hours IST
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Chennai Super Kings – WWLWL
Sunrisers Hyderabad – WLLLL
While they have made to six finals earlier, CSK have only managed to win two of those, the last being in 2012. The Sunrisers, on the other hand, have a hundred percent record in finals, having won the only finals they were part of, back in 2016. The focus will once again be on the two captains although majority of Indian cricket fans will be rallying behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni. That does not take away the fact that Kane Williamson has been brilliant both as captain and as a batsman in this season. The fact that he remains equally calm as Dhoni under pressure situations is what will make this duel worthy of a finale.
CSK have had the wood over SRH in this season and have defeated them in each of the three encounters they have had his season. While one of them was a comprehensive one, the other two have been by narrow margins. Coach Tom Moody and his orange army would like to believe that a turnaround is around the corner and there is no better stage to do it than the finals.
There was a stage in the tournament when people had started doubting Rashid Khan’s abilities and he has responded in style ever since. His performance in the second qualifier with bat, ball and on the field almost single handedly won the game for SRH and he will be hoping to have a similar impact in this fixture. With dew expected to play a role in Mumbai, things can often get tough for bowlers but CSK might not want to take a chance against the Afghanistan leggie.
The quality of bowlers on both sides would mean that batsmen will have to mix caution with aggression to come out on top, something which they failed to do in their qualifier clash. Since then, SRH have made the bold move of dropping Manish Pandey although no such fancy moves could be expected from CSK.
The value of experience in a tough game is priceless and that is what Faf du Plessis showed in their earlier clash. One can easily expect experience to come to their rescue once again should CSK be put in a troubled situation. CSK coach Stephen Fleming had stressed on the fact that they had made a team to win the title this year and not for the future. While they are one step away from reaching that goal, a negative result should not take away any shine off the manner in which have announced their comeback into the IPL.
The Sunrisers have been the most consistent team this season, even though they suffered from a few losses towards the end. However, their performance against KKR showed what they are capable of. On paper, both teams appear to be pretty well balanced and have plenty of experience on fall back on. While form may be on CSK’s side, SRH showed that past record does not have much of a role to play in T20 cricket. Sixty matches in a matter of seven weeks is quite an overload of T20 cricket. Hopefully, the clash between these two would make for a memorable end to the tournament for both players and the fans!
Even though Harbhajan Singh did not bowl in the last game, expect an unchanged eleven from CSK.
Chennai Super Kings – Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur
Sandeep Sharma should come back in for Khaleel Ahmed.
Sunrisers Hyderabad – Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (c), Shakib al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Carlos Brathwaite, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma/Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul
* Rashid Khan became the fourth player to score 30 plus runs and three or more wickets in an IPL playoff/knockout. Interestingly, two of the other three would be a part of this final. Shane Watson was the first to achieve this feat against Delhi back in 2008 while Yusuf Pathan managed the same against Chennai, also in 2008
* The reason why CSK are a top team is because they are full of match winners. That is evident from the fact that Rayudu, Watson, Billings, Bravo, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ngidi and du Plessis have all won a man of the match award at some stage of the tournament
* The first qualifier saw MS Dhoni batting in the first four overs of the IPL only for the third time. The other two instances were back in 2010 against Delhi and in 2016 against Bangalore
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