IPL 2019 Final: Spin set to be key as Mumbai Indians and CSK search for record fourth title

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Tahir will be key for CSK. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Two of the most successful teams in the competition’s history will lock horns in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) final at Hyderabad on Sunday in a continuation of what is developing into a fearsome rivalry.

There has been little to separate Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings over the years with both teams clinching the IPL title three times in their history and they now have a shot at becoming the most successful franchise when they clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

MUMBAI HAVE UPPER HAND

On paper, the title is Mumbai’s to lose with Rohit Sharma and his men prevailing in each of the three encounters against Chennai this season and convincingly at that. The latest of those victories came just four days ago in the first Qualifier at Chennai in a six-wicket win and that should see Mumbai enjoy a psychological advantage in the final.

The two teams faced off in three IPL finals with Mumbai prevailing in two of them. All these factors bode well for Rohit’s men but the fact that CSK are making a record eighth IPL final appearance in 10 editions cannot be discounted.

BATTLE OF SPIN AT HYDERABAD

With the pitch at Hyderabad showing signs of slowing down over the course of the IPL 2019 campaign, spinners could be in business during the final. Both sides, especially Chennai, possess an excellent spin attack and that should result in an intriguing battle.

For defending champions CSK, Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh have so far combined to pick up 55 wickets between themselves and have been the biggest reason for the team’s success.

Meanwhile, Mumbai aren’t too shabby either in the spin department with Krunal Pandya and young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar leading the way. The duo have snared 23 wickets so far while maintaining an economy-rate of less than seven runs an over.

Mumbai also have Jayant Yadav and young Anukul Roy in their ranks who could be handy weapons on a spinning pitch and both spinners have hurt Chennai previously in the IPL 2019 campaign.

Rahul Chahar was excellent against CSK in the Qualifier. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Rahul Chahar was excellent against CSK in the Qualifier. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

HARDIK PANDYA KEY IN FINAL

While the battle of spin promises to be an enticing prospect, how Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya goes could very well have a major bearing on the result. The India stalwart has been in sensational form for Mumbai this season and has made several match-winning contributions with both bat and ball.

It is with the bat that Pandya has looked almost unstoppable with the right-hander amassing 386 runs in 15 matches at an average of over 48 and a strike-rate of 193. Although he has gone at more than nine runs an over with the ball, Pandya has still managed to pick up 14 wickets with many of them coming in crucial situations.

His lower-order cameos with the bat have dug Mumbai out of several holes over the course of the season and MS Dhoni and his men will need to be wary of his prowess in the death overs.

Pandya in sensational form for Mumbai. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Pandya in sensational form for Mumbai. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

LIKELY XIs

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni (wk and c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.

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