If numbers are something to go through, then CSK, in their astonishing ninth final appearance in 12 editions (they were suspended in two), they are sure to start as favorites against Kolkata Knight Riders on ‘Dussera’ day, but in terms of trophies, there isn’t much of a difference.
CSK has three titles with five final defeats while KKR they have won their two finals under the mercurial Gautam Gambhir. No team has mastered the art of reaching the finals like Dhoni’s CSK.
But KKR will definitely be on the hunt, as they won one of the most exciting high-scoring summit matches in 2012, where they chased a 190 goal with two balls to spare.
On Friday, CSK’s chances of winning a fourth title will depend on how well they handle the 12 overs of the KKR spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy (economy rate 6.40), Shakib Al Hasan (ER: 6.64) and Sunil Narine (ER : 6.44), who have excelled in this tournament.
In fact, Shakib’s comprehensive skills have provided KKR with more balance during the end of the business once Andre Russell suffered a hamstring injury.
However, the final match comes with its own set of pressures and how these three perform when put under pressure will be the key against a team of battle-hardened professionals.
Dhoni’s captaincy mantra is simple: trust experience as IPL It is not a school to finish or a place to prepare young people, however talented they may be.
He groomed Ruturaj Gaikwad when qualifying pressure was off his back in 2020 and the boy from Pune has played freely.
He has marked three half centuries and with his rise, Dhoni laid the foundation for not just the next year, but many more to come for his franchise.
It should come as no surprise that Gaikwad becomes the next CSK captain once Dhoni finishes the IPL, which could be next year or the following year.
No one knows IPL changes and patterns better than India’s most revered white ball captain.
He understands that for IPL consistency, experienced players are needed primarily along with one or two talented youngsters.
So the work that Suresh Raina used to do during his early years is now being done by the young Gaikwad, who has scored a staggering 600 runs in the tournament with one match to go.
Hell or high tide, CSK’s hitting will revolve around Gaikwad, who, if all goes well, is sure to be one of the biggest hitting stars of all formats in the post-Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma era.
There is a lot of experience in the ranks of the CSK. The captain himself is on the other side of 40 with Dwayne Bravo at 38, Faf du Plessis at 37, Ambati Rayudu (36) Robin Uthappa just weeks away from his 36th birthday along with Moeen Ali (34) and Ravindra Jadeja (32 ).
Also, three experienced mid-level internationals like Josh Hazlewood, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, who understand pressure situations well and CSK seems immune to pressure from big games.
Dhoni is a master at resource maneuvering. A case in point, this IPL was his “right hand man” and the true blue legend of the IPL, Raina, was eliminated.
The former player from India looked clearly overweight and completely out of touch and the ruthless operator replaced him with Uthappa, who played a major role in winning the game against Delhi Capitals with that resounding start to the chase.
The Knight Riders, on the other hand, also have a captain who has won a World Cup and has been at the heart of the England team’s transformation as a white ball captain.
Many believe that Russell, the hitter, should replace Morgan, who has had a terrible IPL with willow.
But it is the leadership that has stood the test of time, as it has organized its available resources well. He stuck with Shubman Gill as a starter and the youngster has had a decent streak.
The faith shown in Venkatesh Iyer It will also benefit the Indian white ball team, while Narine, the bowler, found his mojo under him with constant support after some remodeled action.
Morgan is as quiet and expressionless as Dhoni even in times of trial and would be a competition of two brains on the move trying to gauge the next move in what promises to be a mouth-watering three-hour battle.
Horsemen of the Kolkata Knights: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Darrier, Shivam Darrier Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert
Super Kings of Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Rutura, Shaik Thaik Thaik. R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth