The Chennai Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians in the final of the Indian Premier League 2013 at Kolkata. While the Super Kings will be favourites on paper, there’s a lot that has gone on off the field that could pull back the two-time champions. The alleged spot-fixing controversy has now dragged the Super Kings into the picture too and there cannot be too much doubt that the players will be affected by all that’s going on in the media. On the other hand, the Mumbai Indians did go down to the Chennai Super Kings in the previous playoffs game but made most of their second change against the Rajasthan Royals as they went on to edge them out in the last over of the game. Now, having already played at the Eden Gardens, they will be in a much better shape to get the momentum in the final.
The Super Kings are the most successful IPL franchise (twice champions), they have a win percentage of almost 60 since the tournament’s inception. Frankly, they have never looked more powerful. As we said in the tournament preview, they are perfectly balanced for success, boasting the hitters, the nurdlers, the all-rounders, the spinners, the death bowlers. And, of course, an inspirational captain in MS Dhoni. Despite Suresh Raina and Mike Hussey taking the plaudits for their incredible runscoring, it is with the ball where CSK are considered strongest. Only Hyderabad have conceded fewer runs in the tournament. In that regard the final pits the second-best batting side against the second-best bowling outfit. Chennai should keep faith with the side that comfortably beat Mumbai in the qualifier.
Mumbai held their nerve in the semi-final against Rajasthan Royals. It is not something they are known for. Chasing 166 the match was slipping away from them when Kieron Pollard was out in the 18th over but Ambati Rayudu got them back in contention before Harbhajan Singh finished the job. The big question for Mumbai to answer is: does Sachin Tendulkar return? The Little Master has not played in the last four matches. He is suffering from a wrist injury which is stubbornly refusing to heal. In his place Aditya Tare has opened the batting. At an average of 30 and strike rate of 148, it could be said he has done pretty well. Tendulkar, however, only has an average of 22 and a strike rate of 122. Could it be, then, that Tendulkar is being kept out of the side? Based on those numbers he should be.
Match Timings: May 26, 2013 (20:00 local | 14:30 GMT | 20:00 IST)
Chennai Super Kings (probable) Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma.
Mumbai Indians (probable) Dwayne Smith, Aditya Tare, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel.