The 2019 Indian Premier League season comes to an end on Sunday when the two biggest franchises in the competition collide in the final of the tournament as the Mumbai Indians go up against the Chennai Super Kings for the title.
Both these teams have won the competition three times in the past and will be looking for a fourth crown in what should be a wonderful final in Hyderabad. Mumbai have won all three of the meetings between the two this term and will be keen to win a fourth.
After topping the table in the regular season, the Mumbai Indians then saved themselves a bit of heartache when they won the first qualifier to book their place in this final at the first time of asking, giving themselves maximum preparation time for this final. That should be a significant advantage, especially with these play-offs taking place all over India in a relatively short space of time.
The reason why Mumbai Indians are in this position is because they have been excellent with the ball throughout the tournament and have all bases covered with the bat. They can win it through their classy stroke making or they can bludgeon sides into submission with their power down the order. They are a tough side to stop at this stage of a tournament.
Chennai Super Kings
The defending champions had to go the scenic route to get themselves back in this title showdown. They lost to the Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier but were never in too much trouble against the Delhi Capitals in the second one. I don’t think the efforts of that match will have taken much out of them but the travelling and lack of recovery time could be an issue for what is an aging side.
The Chennai Super Kings are largely dependent on their bowling attack. They can win big matches with their batsmen but you would have to question whether enough of their players are in the required form with the bat in hand to get the job done here. I suspect not so it is important that the Super Kings get stuck in early with the ball to put pressure on the power hitters down the order.
There is no discernible reason why the Mumbai Indians should make any changes to their side for this match. They might decide to dump a spinner for another seamer in which case Jason Behrendorff could return but that would be about it.
All eyes will be on the Chennai Super Kings line up to see if Harbhajan Singh makes the grade. There aren’t many left handers in the Mumbai side so it might be that they explore other options. If they do then Mitchell Santner would be an obvious starting point.
Both these sides have played in Hyderabad in this competition with the Mumbai Indians winning there and the Chennai Super Kings coming up short there and I expect that to be the way this one plays out over the course of Sunday too. Usually I would be pretty nervous about backing a side to beat the same opponent four times in a campaign but I do think the Indians match up pretty nicely here.
Whether it is with class and grace or brute power I think the Mumbai side have all bases covered and given their resources with the ball I see no reason why Mumbai won’t get back on the front foot and put this Chennai side to the sword. You suspect Chennai can only win a low scoring match here whereas Mumbai can do it in a number of ways. Mumbai can take advantage of the extra preparation time and win this final.
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