MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings shrugged off their ‘Dad’s Army’ label to reach Sunday’s Indian Premier League final against the Mumbai Indians with both teams looking to clinch a record fourth title.
Chennai hammered Delhi Capitals by six wickets on Friday to reach a record eighth final in the Twenty20 tournament.
The 37-year-old Dhoni is one of 11 members of the 25 man Chennai squad aged over 30.
Australian Shane Watson is 37 and fellow opener Faf du Plessis, a relative team youngster at 34. Both plundered fifties off the Delhi bowling as Chennai powered past the 147-run target with an over to spare and just four wickets lost.
However, Mumbai Indians have no such problems. They have a good balance of youth and experience. Rohit Sharma hasn’t exactly set the stands on fire but he has looked in good nick. Quinton de Kock has been superb at the top of the order. With standout 20-year-old Ishan Kishan in the middle-order and the Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – as well as big-hitting Kieron Pollard, Mumbai finished top of the table after a slow start to the season.
They also have the bragging rights against Chennai this season after beating them three times, in the league and playoffs.
Mumbai Indians are the only team in the IPL with a positive win-loss record against the Chennai Super Kings.
Overall: 27 matches, Mumbai Indians – 16 wins, Chennai Super Kings – 11 wins.
Since 2015: 8 matches, Mumbai Indians – 6 wins, Chennai Super Kings – 2 wins.
In knockouts/playoffs: 8 matches, Mumbai Indians – 4, Chennai Super Kings – 4.
Record in the final
CSK have reached the final eight times in the ten seasons that they have played, more than any other franchise.
2008: CSK lost to Rajasthan Royals by 3 wickets
2010: CSK beat MI by 22 runs
2011: CSK beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs
2012: CSK lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets
2013: CSK lost to MI by 23 runs
2015: CSK lost to MI by 41 runs
2018: CSK beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets
Mumbai have reached the final on five occasions and won the title three times:
2010: MI lost to CSK by 22 runs
2013: MI beat CSK by 23 runs
2015: MI beat CSK by 41 runs
2017: MI beat Rising Pune Supergiant by 1 run
CSK’s batting had struggled but they have somehow managed to get the performances they need to win matches when they have required them. The struggle has been at two levels – they haven’t got enough runs and they haven’t got those runs quickly enough. Not a single CSK batsman has a strike-rate of above 138. Some of it could be ascribed to the slowness of the Chepauk pitch.
Mumbai’s batting, on the other hand, looks solid. Their top order has been scoring runs and then Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard are finishing things off in a rush. Hardik will be in line to win the player of the tournament award, should be produce another game-changing in the final.
CSK's top-five batsmen in 2019
|Faf du Plessis||370||37.00||120.12|
MI's top-five batsmen in 2019
|Quinton de Kock||500||35.71||131.23|
While CSK’s batting bar Dhoni has not been at its consistent best like in 2018, their bowling has been superb. The spin bowlers have been difficult to get away and Imran Tahir has got a majority of his wickets in the middle overs.
Mumbai’s bowling does have some weaknesses. Jasprit Bumrah, as usual, has been superb but Lasith Malinga has been taken for runs as has Hardik Pandya. Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya have to come up with big performances in the final.
CSK's top-five bowlers in 2019
MI's top-five bowlers in 2019
- In IPL history, 8 of the 11 previous finals have been won by team that won the toss and Chennai have an incredible record with the toss of the coin this season.
- Chennai and Mumbai have faced off thrice before in the finals. CSK won the first meeting (2010) while Mumbai have won the last two (2013, 2015). Read more about that here.
- There was also a hat-trick of sorts completed on Friday. For the third consecutive season, we have a final between two sides who will be meeting for the 4th time, with a 3-0 record before that:
IPL 2017: Rising Pune Supergiants beat Mumbai Indians thrice before the final, lost in the final.
IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings beat Sunrisers Hyderabad thrice before the final, won in the final too.
IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings thrice before the final, what will happen on May 12?
The IPL final starts at 1930 IST.