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When Chennai Super Kings andMumbai Indians take the field at the Eden Gardens on Sunday evening, memories will go back to 2010, at the DY Patil Stadium. That was the last time the two teams met in an IPL final, both eyeing a maiden title. CSK lifted the trophy then and the next year too, while the MI are still searching for their first IPL silverware.
On the eve of the IPL 2013 finale, as Stephen Fleming addressed the media, with Michael Hussey and MI coach John Wright, he hoped that CSK’s experience of playing four IPL finals out of five gives them an edge in the ‘big’ game.
The Super Kings coach said having players who can keep their cool in pressure situations will hold the team in good stead.
“Right from having Mike (Hussey) at the top, going down, we have some players who are capable of remaining calm under any situation and it is when the leadership quality comes to the fore,” Fleming said.
“Your senior players’ experience counts for a lot in such tournaments. They get nervous too but their ability to soak in the pressure and respond is what takes the team home. Our captain (MS Dhoni) took the game by the scruff of its neck in the 2011 World Cup final and won it for India. He has snatched some key games for us too. Those are the players you turn to and the more of those you have in your side, better the chance you have,” he said.
Fleming credited CSK’s consistency across all seasons of IPL to the team’s policy of having the same core group of players since 2008.
“We formed a strategy from the outset that we will remain loyal to players,” Fleming said. “In the second auction we retained 95 per cent of our side and over the years we have built some strong relationships. You can come in and build the team environment in a year but it will be only so much deep. When strong camaraderie develops between players, they not only know each other’s game but can also know each other off the field. That helps the team during tough times,” he said.
While the Chennai team made the final last year as well, Fleming was more pleased with their performance this season.
“From the coaching point of view this has been one of the better seasons for us. The last year we just made it to the top four and came home in a hurry. This year we’ve been one of the better sides and very consistent. I’m delighted the way this season has gone cricket wise and hopefully we can end it perfectly too,” the coach said.
Given the consistency of CSK and MI in IPL 2013, finishing first and second on the points table respectively, both Fleming and Michael Hussey believed that worthy teams have made it to the final this year.
“We have got enormous respect for the Mumbai team. We’ve had some tough battles with them not only this year but over the course of six years,” Hussey said. “This final is a big game and we will focus on our performances and hopefully our spirit can take us over the line. I’m sure it’s going to be an extremely tough match and there might be a difference of only one amazing catch or a run-out. When two good teams meet, it’s the little things that matter the most.”
Two times champions, Chennai Super Kings take on an impressive Mumbai Indians in yet another clash, this time, in yet another final, the Pepsi IPL 2013 finale. The two teams flaunted their wares in the summit meet in the 2010 final, where the Boys in Yellow walked away with the prized silverware.
CSK and MI finished the regular league season first and second in the standings, before the former outclassed the latter in the first Playoff to seal their berth in their fifth IPL final. MI took the longer route – having to defeat the Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 – but have nevertheless made it to the title-clash (their second final after 2010).
At stake is the title of champions of Pepsi IPL 2013, the glorious IPL trophy and a winner’s cheque for Rs 10 Crore.
Sunday, May 26, 2013, 8 p.m
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Runs and Wickets are important as always. However, in a high-pressure match such as this, experience and a calm head play a very vital role. Hence, Michael Hussey and MS Dhoni in the Chennai Super Kings line-up and Sachin Tendulkar from the Mumbai Indians will be key characters, given their experience of playing in high-pressure matches and their ability to soak in the pressure.
As far as runs and wickets are concerned, CSK will expect Hussey, Raina or Dhoni to get a big score. Also keep an eye on Murali Vijay, who going by past performances, comes up with something special in matches of this stature. He smashed the RCB bowlers to smithereens in the IPL 2011 Final and yet again came up with a crucial 42 in the IPL 2012 final.
Dwayne Smith has seen the Mumbai Indians off to fliers in the last two matches and he will be expected to do so yet again. Among other important batsmen in the MI line-up are Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard. Though the Mumbai Indians have done well under Rohit Sharma as skipper, the team has not realised too many runs from the willow of the 26-year old and questions are being raised if he is being burdened by the demands of captaincy. It will be interesting to see if he can shrug off the pressures of captaincy when he gets his turn to bat.
Dinesh Karthik has entertained with cameos almost consistently. He will be aware that his team will expect much more than a cameo from him in this match. Pollard is the impact player in the MI line-up; how much damage he can cause to the CSK bowling line-up will have a huge influence on the result of the match.
Mumbai Indians’ bowling attack – comprising Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singhi and Pragyan Ojha – is international class and hence they certainly have the edge over their opponents. CSK though will expect Dwayne Bravo, Mohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Chris Morris, who have combined well as a bowling unit right through the season, to do the job yet again.
No team has performed better against the Chennai Super Kings than the Mumbai Indians. The two teams have so far met on 14 occasions and MI have emerged victors in eight of those matches.
The two teams met thrice this season – twice in the regular league season and once in the Qualifier 1. While Mumbai Indians won both the league fixtures, CSK got the better of MI in Qualifier 1.
The average first innings total in ‘Final’ matches in previous IPL’s is 174.
Pepsi IPL 2013 has seen more batsmen dismissed than any other previous seasons – 891.
The Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians also met in the Final of IPL 2010 when CSK got the better of their opponents by 22 runs.
With the curtains coming down on the IPL 2013 season, both teams will spend time reflecting back on their results in the IPL this season before shifting focus to the Champions League T20 which starts in a few months time.