This season IPL witness the repeat of season third when the same two teams Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians squared off at the DY Patil Stadium, 2010. This time around they will meet at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. It is expected to be a cracker of a match. Truth be told it is an even contest on paper as both teams have game changers on equal proportion who can run away with the game. Here are the five things that could well decide the outcome of the finale this season.
1) The Captaincy As far the captaincy contest goes, MS Dhoni wins it hands down against Rohit Sharma. The saying goes captain is as good as his team, but when you look at the third season of IPL for instance, and incidentally the match was played between these two teams. Kieron Pollard was threatening to take the game away from Chennai Super Kings but Dhoni had other plans as he instinctively got the fielder at straight mid-off, just behind the bowlers arm, and the result was Pollard hold out the same fielder. It is moments like this that wins you the Championship. This shows how a moment of genius from one person can change the game! For Rohit Sharma there is a lot to learn as far as captaincy goes as he looks completely shallow on the tactical nuances of the game. His team is in the final not because of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy but because they have individuals who are experienced internationals who bail him out in a crisis. This is the area where CSK seems to have a definite edge.
2) The top order These are the two top teams with a very strong top order which is full of internationals. On one side you have Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and Murli Vijay while on the other side you have Sachin Tendulkar (he is expected to be fit for finals though must admit MI will find it hard to leave out Aditya Tare), Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma. All the other franchises would bound to be jealous when there is so much talent on display. Michael Hussey even though retired from international cricket still showing no signs of slowing down as he holds the Orange cap.
3) Pollard vs Bravo It’s the battle of two West Indians who have been exceptional for their respective sides in the IPL this season, Pollard and Bravo are best of mates off the field, but when it comes to battling out on the field they leave no opportunity to unnerve each other. Dwayne Bravo has been the best bowler for Chennai Super Kings this season, whereas Pollard has won matches single handedly for MI from a hopeless situation. It may ultimately come down to the Caribbean battle to decide which team wins.
4) The spin bowling If captaincy gave CSK the edge then spin bowling brings MI back into the fold. This is the one area where CSK has definitely trailed MI as the latter has two quality spinners in the form of Harbhajan and Ojha. In fact all three Indian international spinners will be on display as Ashwin represents Chennai. Talking of Ashwin he has been average this season in IPL as compared to other bowlers yes he has been economical this season but has been anything but penetrative. Looking at Kolkata pitch, the spinners will definitely have their say, as happened yesterday when Harbhajan took three crucial wickets of the Royals which halted their innings completely. If he has a similar sort of day again on Sunday then MI might well be on their way maiden IPL title.
5) The fielding To epitomize this point we take a look back to earlier in the season when these two teams met in Chennai. CSK was cruising on the back of a typical Dhoni innings but Kieron Pollard had other ideas as he held on to one of the most spectacular catches of the season. As the old cliché still holds true for a 21st century tournament- catches win matches. Not just catches but even good ground fielding also help to keep batman under pressure and boost the morale of the bowler, and add to the fact that the nature of the beast requires batsman to take chances there is very high possibility that he will end up gifting wickets to the bowling side. SO the team who fields better will have a big say in winning the league season.