Indian Premiere League: Endgame
May the best team win.
59 matches. 19,103 runs. 1,633 fours. 769 sixes. 666 wickets. The IPL 2019 has been one killer tournament.
More teams started well this year. The Royal Challengers Bangalore lost six games on the trot and Kolkata pulled an RCB in the middle stages, but they were always in the hunt. None would slack off. They would hit, get hit, get up and repeat the drill.
One look at the points table table and you’ll notice what I’m talking about. For the first time, the team finishing eighth, earned points in double digits; a team made it to the playoffs with just 12 points and the difference between the top and the bottom is just seven points.
But after all that crazy maths and glorious cricket, it’s down to the two heroes of the IPL: the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians (MI).
I know, it feels familiar. Not because Thala’s boys and Mumbai’s paltans squared off in the first playoff. It feels familiar because they’ve been there thrice already:
- 2010: CSK defeat MI by 22 runs. MoM - Suresh Raina
- 2013: MI defeat CSK by 23 runs. MoM - Kieron Pollard
- 2015: MI defeat CSK by 41 runs. MoM - Rohit Sharma
Both teams have faced each other 27 times in the IPL. CSK have won 11 games, and MI 16. This record tilts even more in Mumbai’s favour if you compare their head-to-head clashes since 2015—MI have won seven out of the nine games.
Mumbai are the only team to have a win-percentage of more than 50 against the Super Kings, and this season they’ve won all their three games against CSK.
Also, they’ve managed to keep captain Dhoni quiet. So quiet that MS hasn’t struck a single boundary off Rahul Chahar, Bumrah, Hardik or Krunal Pandya this year.
The Big Match Winners
Fifties from openers Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson couldn’t have come at a better time. CSK are still the slowest scoring team in the Powerplay, going at only 6.29 runs an over in this phase while also losing the most wickets (29). But that won’t matter if they can bring cup home.
I mean, look at the stats: the top four run-scorers—Suresh Raina (241 runs), M Vijay (181), MS Dhoni (178) and Shane Watson (156)—in the IPL finals are all in the Super Kings.
Imran Tahir is just one wicket shy of being the leading wicket taker in the IPL. And with 414 runs, this has been Dhoni's best IPL season. Don’t be too surprised to see Dhoni promote himself (or maybe not if you remember the 2011 World Cup final).
Bring it On
The toss is key. Teams batting first in the IPL finals have won 63.60 per cent of all games.
However, out of the 67 IPL matches played in Hyderabad, teams batting second have won three more. Also, the average score of the first and second innings is 167 and 149 respectively.
Meanwhile, CSK have won 12 out of 16 tosses this IPL. What’s it gonna be, cap?