IPL 2018 Final: MS Dhoni vs Rashid Khan - The Headline Act Within Battle Royale

    Cricketnext Staff | Updated: May 27, 2018, 3:32 PM IST
    IPL 2018 Final: MS Dhoni vs Rashid Khan - The Headline Act Within Battle Royale

    Rashid Khan castles MS Dhoni. (BCCI)

    New Delhi: Nerves will play a big role as two title-hungry outfits, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad look to outdo each other and regain the coveted IPL crown when they square off in what promises to be a humdinger of a summit contest here on Sunday.

    Cricketnext takes a look a the key player battles to watch out for in this blockbuster clash -

    Shikhar Dhawan vs Deepak Chahar

    Shikhar Dhawan has had a very hot and cold tournament thus far as he has taken apart bowlers in some matches while in the other games, he hasn't troubled the scorers much. While on the other hand, Deepak Chahar has been a revelation for CSK and easily been one of the finds of the season. The onus will be on these two cricketers to provide their teams with respective good starts in the final. Dhawan has found it hard to score runs against Chahar in the ongoing edition of the cash-rich league and off the 10 balls that the southpaw have faced against the medium pacer, he has managed to score just 9 runs. While, Chahar has also dismissed Dhawan once this season.

    Kane Williamson vs Shardul Thakur

    Kane Williamson has been simply sensational for SRH and it is because of his runs that the team from Hyderabad have sealed a place in the final of the competition. Williamson is currently the orange cap holder for the season and most likely, it will remain on his head following the end of the tournament as Ambati Rayudu, who is the only player in the top 5, to be playing in the final, is 102 runs behind the SRH skipper. But in the past, Shardul Thakur has done really well against the right-hander and CSK will be hoping for more of the same in Sunday's clash as well. Shardul has bowled 23 deliveries to Williamson off which he has conceded just 29 runs. Moreover, Shardul has dismissed Williamson twice before as well.

    Faf Du Plessis vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

    Faf Du Plessis chose a perfect time to return to form as he slammed a majestic to propel Chennai Super Kings into the final after their thrilling win over SRH in qualifier 1. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar will make sure that lightening doesn't strike twice in a matter of week and will look to get rid of Du Plessis early in the innings in order to provide his team with the perfect start. But the South African's record against Bhuvneshwar has been good in the IPL as off 26 deliveries, Du Plessis has hit 40 runs at a healthy strike rate of 153.4. But Bhuvi will take heart from the fact that he has dismissed him once before and will look to do the same in the final as well.

    Ambati Rayudu vs Shakib Al Hasan

    Ambati Rayudu has simply been outstanding for CSK this term and despite his batting position being changed constantly by the think-tank, he has played good consistent cricket and is one of the top-scorers in the league. However, SRH have Rayudu's nemesis in their ranks and they will look to give him the ball whenever the right-hander comes on to the crease. Shakib-Al-Hasan and Rayudu have come face-to-face quite a lot in the league and the batsman has faced 48 deliveries from the spinner thus far. Off these balls, Rayudu has scored 76 runs at a strike rate 158.3. However, Shakib has managed to dismiss Rayudu three times before and therefore, the CSK batsman will have to be wary of him in this crunch match.

    MS Dhoni & Rashid Khan

    Saving the best for the last, this is that one battle that has the capability to decide the course of the final. Both Dhoni and Rashid have been instrumental in their teams reaching the final. While Dhoni has turned back the clock in sublime style with the bat, his astute leadership has been the talk of the town as well. On the other hand, Rashid single-handedly took SRH into the final, with his stunning all-round show in the qualifier 2 against Kolkata Knight Riders. Rashid is also one of the leading wicket-taker's in the league and that says it all about the form and might of the young tweaker. Dhoni and Rashid have also come face-to-face in the past in the league but the CSK skipper's strike rate against the Afghan has been very ordinary. Off 22 Rashid deliveries, Dhoni has scored just 14 runs and he has been content with just wasting his deliveries. And the one time that Dhoni has been dismissed by Rashid, came in CSK's last game against SRH, when MSD missed a googly and the ball crashed into the stumps.

    First Published: May 27, 2018, 2:54 PM IST

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