Okay, this is it – the final of the Indian Premier League 2018. Chennai Super Kings vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad. M.S. Dhoni vs. Kane Williamson. Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs. Ambati Rayudu. Darren Bravo vs. Shikhar Dhawan. Rashid Khan vs. Everybody else.
Who’s going to win?
We don’t know, and that’s the beauty of cricket. We can tell you that there is over a $1 billion riding on this match. The IPL Finals are always marked by heavy betting not just in India, but around the world. Whoever gets it right will make a lot of money.
This is a strange game because the owners of both teams are from Chennai, so the winning trophy will go to Chennai. But we have had only one match in Chennai throughout this IPL because of various political reasons.
Dhoni admitted as much. He said, “The emotional aspect was more at the start of the tournament. Once the tournament starts you have to be more professional. I was saddened that we couldn’t play our home matches in Chennai but I was still happy that we played at least one match.”
Still, credit goes to the players that they have not allowed off-field events to detract them from their main goal of winning the IPL. MS Dhoni has been brilliant and we have got to see the Dhoni of the old in this game.
It’s been the same with Kane Williamson, an unexpected captain, who was put in this position mainly because of the ball tempering scandal that Dave Warner was embroiled in. He has been a revelation.
Sunrisers Coach Tom Moody was full of praise for Williamson. He said in a press conference, “I think it’s been an easy transition for our team given that Kane’s been part of the Sunrisers setup for a few years. Those who were there in the previous years were very familiar with Kane as a person and a lot of people sort of forget the fact that even though you don’t have a type as a leader, he naturally offered his leadership around the group.”
“Whether he was in the playing XI or not in the playing XI, I know for certain (that) Warner relied him a lot with his advice on matchday or outside. So, given that was the history, the actual transition was a very smooth transition. I think it’s just a case of him adapting to a new environment to captain and the IPL is a unique environment and he’s done that like duck to water,” Moody added.
Williamson talked about his experience with the captaincy, “The captaincy came fairly suddenly. It’s been an enjoyable experience. I think as a franchise being involved for a few years and the team has changed quite a lot it some ways with 14 new players. Exciting to learn something about myself and the guys in the team- different cultures, different parts of the world with Tom and the management.”
“Davy (David Warner) is a big part of the franchise as a player and as a leader. He’s contributed so much in the last few years and obviously as events unfolded, things changed pretty quickly. But as a team, we gelled pretty quickly together to try and start operating well as a unit,” he added.
M.S. Dhoni sounded very relaxed when speaking at a press conference. He was asked a pointed question about how his team was much older than the Sunrisers Hyderabad, with an average age of well over 30.
Dhoni said that it was indeed an issue, but they had coped well regardless: “The age-group of the boys was definitely a concern, you had to keep them fit. We had to take care of the resources and to make sure that when we come to the business end of the tournament, the best 11 is available for selection.”
He talked about how he had a lot of great players to choose from and could afford to pick and choose as he pleased: “I have a lot of cars and bikes in my house. I don’t ride all at a time. A lot of times, especially when you have six to seven bowlers in the side, you want to see the conditions, you want to see who is batting and what is needed at that point of time. I see what is in best interest of the team.”
That’s all very true and the truth is, either of the two sides could win. But CSK have a very good record against Sunrisers this season. They have won all three matches played against them so far. They can make it 4-0 by winning this game.
Sunrisers, however, are on the ascendency. They won a hard-fought game against KKR and with Rashid Khan playing almost like a god, they have plenty of aces up their sleeve.
Truth of the matter is both teams are packed with match winners. Faf du Plessis did absolutely nothing in IPL 2018, but single handedly won the Qualifier for his team against the Sunrisers. Anything could happen, any team could win. Just watch and enjoy the show!
Prediction: We just have a feeling that Sunrisers will win this game. They have lost their last 3 matches to CSK and the law of averages suggests that they are due a win. Also, Rashid Khan looks unbeatable right now.
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt&wk), 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 WriddhimanSaha (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Carlos Brathwaite, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Siddarth Kaul, 11 Sandeep Sharma/Khaleel Ahmed/Basil Thampi
Watch Chennai Super Kings play Sunrisers Hyderabad in the FINAL of the Indian Premier League 2018 TONIGHT at 7 PM LIVE on Star Sports!