Round nine of IPL 2019 Fantasy League – run by official partners Dream 11 – is pretty much a daily contest with just two teams in the fray.
The big boys of IPL – Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians – will be fighting it out and it can’t get better than this with the three-time champions battling for supremacy.
Chennai are the masters of playoffs, having made it to their eighth final with three wins already under their belt. Mumbai, on the other hand, have a far better success rate at the biggest stage – three wins from four finals.
For fantasy league players, it’s a final last chance to push ahead and we are here with a few tips to help you out.
TOP TIP ROUND 9
Chose free hit wisely
Since most fantasy teams will pretty much be the same, the deciding factor might well be the free hits you decide to use. Since you can activate only one of the four, the safest option would be to go for the ‘six’ free hit as chances of a high-scoring final are, well, high. In the last five IPL finals, teams have scored more than 200 four times. The only low-scoring final was the 2017 one which was played in Hyderabad – incidentally the venue for the 2019 title clash.
However, the Uppal Stadium in Hyderabad has witnessed decent scores in the last two games this season – 212-6 and 161- in 15 overs. However, the venue also witnessed Sunrisers bowled out for 96 and 116 in successive games before that. Even so, it will be safe to expect a high-scoring match on a traditionally flat pitch.
Faf du Plessis (8.5 credits)
The Chennai Super Kings batsman is on a roll in the business end of the tournament. In three of the last four matches, Faf has reeled off 39, 96 and 50. The third score there was made against Delhi in a critical chase in the second qualifier. Faf made a crucial fifty in the first qualifier last year as well. Also, he is the best fielder in the side.
Rohit Sharma (10.5 cr)
The final could be the moment for the Mumbai skipper to put in his best performance of the season. He’s been bubbling under the surface all season, getting starts consistently which means he is in decent nick and only needs to push on once he gets a start. Has scored a fifty in a winning final before – 2015 against Chennai – so will have good memories of the occasion and opposition.
Shane Watson (10.5 cr)
Experience always matters at the big stage and the Aussie showed why as he hit a critical fifty against Delhi in the second qualifier. Scored an unbeaten ton for the Super Kings in the final last year and will be raring for an encore. If the wicket is half decent, expect Watson to press on the accelerator from the start and put pressure on Mumbai’s spinners.
Imran Tahir (7.5 cr)
The engine behind Chennai’s run to the final. Tahir has been exceptional this season, picking up 24 wickets from 16 matches and still maintaining an economy of less than 6.7. The 40-year-old will have a major role in keeping Rohit quiet – if he has to bowl by then – as the Mumbai captain is suspect against leg-spinners.
Jasprit Bumrah (9.5 cr)
The star Mumbai pacer has 17 wickets from 15 matches at an economy of less than seven. Almost certain to keep the runs down and be among the wickets. Has rarely disappointed in any white-ball game for a couple of seasons and with the extra rest he has had compared to Chennai players, should be firing on all cylinders come Sunday.
Deepak Chahar (8 cr)
The Chennai seamer has been safe as a house this season. Has picked up 19 scalps from 16 games and in the second qualifier against Delhi, picked up two and went for seven an over. Chahar has turned out to be as reliable as Bumrah in the power play overs. Mumbai top order might be inclined to play him out safely and go after others.
Hardik Pandya (10 cr)
The Mumbai all-rounder has been amazing with bat and ball the entire season. While his six-hitting has attracted headlines, his 14 wickets have been equally important. Expect Hardik to make one final statement before the World Cup begins as he is arguably the most valuable member of the Indian team.
Ravindra Jadeja (8 cr)
A remarkably consistent performer in IPL. Jadeja hasn’t had many chances to bat but with the ball, has been brilliant when it comes to wickets (15) and economy (6.3). And the southpaw is the best all-round fielder on either side so should earn a few fantasy points in the field as well.
MS Dhoni (9.5 cr)
The veteran gloveman has been singularly responsible for carrying the Super Kings all the way to the final with his batting bailing the team out on multiple occasions in the league phase. Still the fastest gloveman in the game, Dhoni has had an extraordinary season. A final flourish can’t be discounted.
Quinton de Kock (9.5 cr)
The South African has been in decent form with the bat and has affected a dismissal with the glove in the last three games after going through a drought. Whether the wicket is flat or tricky, should bring in some decent points.
Captain: Hardik Pandya
Vice-captain: MS Dhoni
The incredible run for a young Delhi side reached its conclusion and captain Shreyas Iyer echoed the thoughts of most fans when he said that it was a dream run for the team.
The youngster did point out some of the weaknesses in the side, but with regard to the big picture, Iyer admitted that he considers it his good fortune to learn from the best at such a young age.
“We didn’t have as many runs as we expected. Had a disappointing start in the Powerplay and we knew that they have good spinners, so it got tough. We thought the wicket would help us as we played a game already over here but none of the batsmen took the responsibility to bat through. There were no partnerships.
“Good learning (curve) for us. (Regarding Kotla surfaces) It’s something to think about. Home games didn’t go that well for us. We can’t complain though. Have practiced a lot for such surfaces but preparing at Delhi on those tracks are risky due to uneven bounce. Can’t blame pitches at the end of the day because we are professional cricketers.
“Looking at the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma leading their teams and also standing with them at the toss, I have been fortunate to learn things. As captain, I am glad about the support of the owners and the management.
“There is pressure as you have to be involved in a lot of decisions. Totally proud of my team, we did really well to come this far. Been a dream season for us and this is just a start. Time to grow further,” the 24-year-old said.
Winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded his team’s effort in all departments as they qualified for yet another final.
The Chennai skipper pointed at some areas of improvements but maintained that he will gladly take this win.
He said – “You’ll go for runs, miss a few catches, but it’s important to come back strong. Th e way we batted to chase down 140+ was really nice. That’s what the 7:30 start does, the groundstaff feel obliged to water it, and it’s a little tacky initially. The bowling effort was brilliant, and we kept it in the right areas, not allowing Delhi to get a big score.
“It’s important to get their openers out – their batting line-up is really strong and they have many left-handers and we have a left-arm spinner to negate them. The ground is a little small, so it is important for them to keep getting wickets. I think the credit needs to go to the spinners, the captain only asks them that I will use you at this point of time.
“Experience counts, but they have to do the hard yards to stay fit for 45-50 days. We are happy we haven’t had many injuries and thanks to the bowling department for that – we are here because of them. I would have preferred the openers to get a few more runs. If the openers had stayed and done the finishing after the hard yards, that would have been better, but I’m happy to take the win any way.”
Man-of-the-match Faf du Plessis was aware that the last few games were not particularly encouraging for him and his team.
The South African is already ready to take on Mumbai Indians, relieved due to the fact that they managed to recover after a tough run.
“We spoke about it before the game – didn’t have the best run in the last 5-6 games. We have a lot of confidence as a team to win a lot of big games – so we draw confidence from that. From the previous games, the guys were playing some great shots up front. But it wasn’t the same kind of wicket.
“We also know the strength of ours is getting those partnerships – even if we go 3-4 overs without runs, we have a great lower and middle order to bring us back. Watto thanked me already (laughs) for scoring quickly at the beginning before he got set.
“Hopefully we can both get them off the meat in the final right from the word go. I reckon we almost ran three there – it was terrible running, and that’s not the kind of start you want in a run-chase of a knockout. Thankfully we recovered from that and did pretty well,” he said.
MS Dhoni’s side will come up against familiar foes in Mumbai Indians in the showpiece event on Sunday after fifties from opening pair Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson helped chase down a target of 148 in Visakhapatnam.
Having elected to bowl, Dwayne Bravo led the way with figures of 2-19 in his four overs while the likes of Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja also picked up two wickets each.
Only Rishabh Pant looked likely to deliver for Delhi and top-scored with 38 off 25 deliveries.
After a slow start to Chennai’s innings, Du Plessis, who made 50 off 39 balls, went on the front foot and Watson soon followed.
The duo’s efforts at the top of the order made for a comfortable victory with Ambati Rayudu’s unbeaten 20 steering the side home with an over and six wickets to spare.
DHAWAN DONE BY SPIN AGAIN
Despite finding some form in the second half of the season, Dhawan has been troubled by spin throughout the tournament and Friday was no different. The opener has struggled to pick the spinners and has been dismissed by one eight times in IPL 2019.
Dhawan is in particular discomfort when the turn is away from him and so when Harbhajan Singh was introduced into the attack as early as the fourth over, the only question was – why didn’t he bowl the second?
The veteran off-spinner has always been comfortable with the new ball and had dismissed Dhawan just nine days earlier in the penultimate round of the league phase. Once again, the left-handed batsman was unable to read the turn and was caught behind trying to cut the wrong ‘un.
It was only the second ball he faced against Harbhajan.
The scorecard makes good reading for Watson. Having scored 50 off just 32 balls, it would appear he even overshadowed his opening partner Du Plessis. In reality though, this was another in a long line of streaky knocks from the Australian this season. Even his 96 earlier in the season was littered by a few lucky breaks.
It was only his second half-century of the campaign at the 16th time of asking with his average of 19.87 speaking volumes. Early on, while Du Plessis was racing to his 50, Watson was struggling to reach double figures.
Eventually, he had to accelerate and when batting on 17 in the ninth over, his slog against Amit Mishra went straight up only to fortuitously fall in no-man’s land.
Yes, he did manage to connect well with a few attempts, against Kheemo Paul in particular, but those shots only served to paper over the cracks.
Watson remains a batsman desperately out of form and those expecting a repeat of his 2018 final heroics, when he scored an unbeaten 117 off 57 balls, in this edition are likely to be left disappointed.
CSK’s victory sets up another mouth-watering clash against the two titans of the Indian Premier League. The final in Hyderabad will be the fourth time Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians face-off in the showpiece event.
At this point, clashes between the two sides have become iconic. Mumbai have beaten Chennai twice in the finals if 2013 and 2015 after Dhoni’s side had drawn first blood in 2010. Both have three titles to their names and will battle on Sunday for the right to be recognised as the most successful side in IPL history.
The fact that Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai side have beaten CSK three times already this season – both league matches and Qualifier 1 – only makes this encounter all the more enticing.