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.
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.
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.
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.