Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be competing for their third title when they lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday.
Faf du Plessis powered CSK to the finals with a win over SRH in Qualifier 1 before Kane Williamson and team sealed the final berth with a win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
But the odds could be in favour of CSK again – here are few reasons why
CSK are no strangers to big games. Barring the two-year spot-fixing ban, the team has made the playoffs nine out of nine times and qualified for the finals a total of seven times. With an average age of 34 and a half years comprising of Dhoni (36), Ambati Rayudu (32), Suresh Raina (31), Dwayne Bravo (34), Shane Watson (37) and Harbhajan Singh (37) the team isn’t short of leadership.
Many wrote off CSK’s ‘Dad Army’ even before the start of the season and guess who's laughing now.
"They're 35-36, not 55-56. A massive amount has been made of it. I'm not here to develop young players, I'm here to try and win the competition for the franchise. And that's why we value experience because we think that gives us the best chance," said Stephen Fleming.
Could that same experience decide the title on Sunday?
Don’t press the panic button
Captain Cool MS Dhoni has passed on his calm demeanour to the rest of the squad which has been the key in CSK’s road to the final. Teams have crumbled under pressure while CSK have made the most of it.
Throughout the season, different players have stepped up to the platter and delivered when needed. There has been someone to raise their hand and take the responsibility that has resulted in collective teamwork.
With a perfect blend of youth and experience in the squad, this CSK squad isn’t short of any match-winners who can spark surprises at any moment. Who would have expected Faf du Plessis to play that match-winning knock in Qualifier 1? And Ambati Rayudu to rediscover his form this season?
MS Dhoni has proved age is just a number while someone like Deepak Chahar is talked about being considered for the upcoming tour of England. Teams have failed to get going because of their dependence on a few key players but this has certainly not been the case with CSK.
CSK 3 – 0 SRH
Kane Williamson and team will need to defy the odds when they face the Yellow Brigade for the fourth time this season. CSK have got the better of them on all three occasions previously this season and once again, the target will be to exploit the weakness of the opposition.
Furthermore, SRH are short of momentum and will be hoping to leave behind the four consecutive defeats on the trot before the Qualifier 2 victory.