Mumbai: The final of IPL11 promises to be a cracker of a contest as Sunrisers Hyderabad lock horns with Chennai Super Kings here at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday. It’s a fitting line-up for the showdown as the two top teams in the league square off for the big prize.
Having beaten Sunrisers in all three previous contests this season including the Qualifier 1 here, Super Kings will have an edge over their southern rivals, but M.S. Dhoni’s side have to be conscious about the fact that they have won only two out of their six previous finals. On the other hand, Sunrisers who topped the table would be hoping to break the duck against CSK.
The venue has already witnessed CSK’s two remarkable come-from-behind victories this season. While it was Dwayne Bravo in the opener against Mumbai Indians, CSK found their saviour in Faf du Plessis against Sunrisers in Qualifier 1. Raising anxiety levels of their fans has become a habit for CSK!
Ambati Rayudu has been CSK’s most consistent batsman, but given du Plessis’ most recent contribution at the top of the order, the South Africa is set to open the innings with Shane Watson.
The biggest test for Chennai would come from Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan who has taken 21 wickets with an impressive average of 20.66 and most importantly with an economy of 6.78. Rashid had dismissed Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo before du Plessis did the rescue act in Qualifier 1. The Afghan warrior is fresh from a dream match against KKR, making contributions with the bat, ball and also in the field.
Kane Williamson who currently holds the Orange Cap (688 runs) has led Hyderabad from the front. “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 with 14 new players. It is exciting to learn something new about myself, guys in the team and different cultures. I have had good time working with Tom Moody and the management,” said Williamson.
Williamson, who took over from David Warner following the ball-tampering row, said the Aussie was an integral part of the franchisee.
“He has contributed so much in the last few years and obviously as events unfolded, things changed pretty quickly. But as a team we gelled pretty well together to try and start operating well as a unit,” he added.
Dhoni said it was unfortunate that CSK couldn’t play their home matches at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. They had to shift their base to Pune following political protests in the state.
“But I was still happy that we played at least one match. Our fans waited a very long time for this comeback. I think it a responsibility given to you irrespective of your past performance that you have done as a team. Nothing really changes for you. The challenge this year was slightly different to what we faced in the past seven-eight years. You have to maneuver your resources and you have to look at the bigger picture: to make sure that when we come to the business end of the tournament our best XI is available,” he added.