Another edition of the Indian Premier League will come to a close on Sunday (May 12) when Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians face off in the final at Hyderabad.
Both teams are chasing history since the winner of this final will become the first side to have won the championship four times.
Not only are these sides the two most successful teams in the history of the tournament, but they also finished in the top two of the league stages.
The final will be an intriguing clash since CSK have lost all 3 matches contested against MI this season. However, the MS Dhoni-led side has the ability to come good in big game situations.
Here we take a look at five battles that will decide the course of the final.
MS Dhoni vs Lasith Malinga
Perhaps the most mouthwatering battle will be between two stalwarts who aren’t quite the players they once were, but have still come clutch for their team when it matters the most.
Dhoni has been the man around whom CSK’s batting has revolved whereas Malinga has rediscovered his consistency and ability to bowl yorkers. Whoever emerges atop this battle will put their team in a good position to lift the cup.
Rohit Sharma vs Harbhajan Singh
The MI skipper is a mainstay at the top of the order for both franchise and country yet his form hasn’t been up to his high standards this season and in particular, he has struggled against spinners.
Harbhajan has been Dhoni’s weapon of choice in the powerplays this year and accounted for Shikhar Dhawan in the second qualifier after the southpaw got off to a decent start. The veteran will also hope to add Rohit’s wicket to his collection this season.
Hardik Pandya vs Dwayne Bravo
Pandya’s ability to hit a ball long is no secret but it is the regularity with which he has done it at the bottom of the order that has made him such a dangerous weapon for MI this season.
Bravo missed a few matches with a hamstring tear but showed in the qualifier against DC that he can deliver the goods when his team needs it the most. Getting rid of the dangerous Pandya in the final won’t be easy but if anyone can do it, it’s Bravo.
Faf du Plessis vs. Jasprit Bumrah
MI’s bowling unit has been among the best this season and a large part of that is down to how consistent Bumrah and Lasith Malinga have been. Both have chipped in with wickets at crucial moments during the season.
Du Plessis was key to CSK’s win over Delhi in the second qualifier and getting him early would be a huge plus. The South African skipper won’t be easy to dismiss but Bumrah will be up for the challenge and can trouble him with his pinpoint accuracy.
Suryakumar Yadav vs. Ravindra Jadeja
The Mumbai batsman hasn’t been among the runs during the league stages but came to life in Qualifier 1, scoring an unbeaten 71 as CSK were forced to take the longer route to the final via the second qualifier.
Jadeja’s main purpose in the CSK attack is to put in a few economical overs but his accuracy and consistency with the ball will be key against Suryakumar, who does look to go for the occasional extravagant shot that gets him out.
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