Her is D-day at alst, as Chennai Super Kings get set to take on Kokata Knight Riders in the final of IPL 5 on their home ground on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
The tournament has been turned on its head after CSK qualified for the play offs. After decimating Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils, in successive games, the defending champions have made the league matches appear a distant memory.
The match against DD was remarkable for the ease with which CSK dismantled the team that ranked number one on the league table. Dhoni’s men were helped by some rank bad captaincy by Sehwag. For instance, DD’s best bowler Morkel was dropped in favour of Russell ostensibly to strengthen the batting, and then what does the skipper do when he wins the toss – opts to bowl first. Nadeem should have been the preferred spinner given the nature of the wicket at Chennai. Here again, Sehwag decided to go with Sunny Gupta who had never featured in DD’s previous 17 games in the league. Between Sehwag and Gupta, their four overs gave away 68 runs.
Coming back to the match at hand, Chennai must be overwhelming favourites to beat KKR and win their third successive IPL crown. Apart from having been there and done that, CSK are clearly the superior team in batting, with no respite in sight for rival bowlers right up to number eight, in the home team’s batting line up. And playing in home conditions will give CSK’s bowlers a psychological boost to neutralize KKR’s superiority in bowling.
KKR have four potential match winners in their bowling line up in Balaji, Narine, Shakib and Abdullah. Bhatia too has been a constant in the team with his steady line and clever change of pace and could be a handy bowler with the old ball at Chepauk, as the wicket tends to slow down progressively.
For KKR to win, their batsmen will have to deliver down the line. They must shed their overdependence on Gambhir and McCullum; in particular, Kallis must take the onus of holding the innings together while allowing the likes of Pathan, Shakib, Shukla and Das to go for the big shots.
KKR’s best shot would be to win the toss and bat first. Gambhir has some outstanding talent at his disposal. On their day, this team can beat any other, including CSK. But where the game would really tilt in CSK’s favour is in the mental department. Do KKR have the nerve to win the final against the champions?
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.