Despite his Mumbai Indians side having the upper hand over Chennai Super Kings throughout the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, skipper Rohit Sharma is not looking back at the past ahead of Sunday’s final at Hyderabad.
The two most successful franchises in IPL history lock horns in the final with a record fourth title on offer for both sides. Mumbai hold the slight advantage ahead of the final courtesy of having beaten the defending champions thrice over the course of the IPL 2019 campaign.
In three previous IPL finals between the two sides, it is Mumbai who have enjoyed greater success with two victories. However, all that counts for little for Rohit ahead of the summit clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium.
“We have to play good cricket,” the Mumbai skipper stated on the eve of the IPL final.
“For us as a team, it’s important to focus on the day, and think about how we can win the game rather than what has happened in the past, what our team or the opposition has done. For us, as long as I’m concerned, the focus will be on the game and how we can play a good one.
MI's recent H2H record against CSK is astonishing & is evidence of how a team can exploit a match-up. Overall MI have won 17 of their 29 matches v CSK. They've won 7 of the last 8 (despite having lost 6 of the 8 tosses) & have won six in a row in fortress Chepauk. #IPL #MIvCSK— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) May 8, 2019
“We will not focus on what has happened in the past, who has won trophies how many times etc. We have to treat this as another match and that is what we have done through the tournament.”
Having beaten CSK in the first Qualifier, Mumbai Indians have enjoyed a four-day break ahead of Sunday’s final but Rohit is not worried about any disruption in the team’s momentum.
“We have been on the road for a while, we were playing back to back games,” Rohit said.
“We are fortunate to have finished on the top of the table, qualify in the first play-off and get three to four days break. Everyone needed one. We could rejuvenate, come back together as a group and get together better and move forward.
“I don’t think it’s a momentum breaker to have three to four days off. In fact, I look at it in a positive way.”
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