So after more than a month of brouhaha, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 5th season is coming to a close today. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK), playing their 4th IPL final in five years, look all set to win their 3rd consecutive title as they face the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at 8 p.m. IST tonight.
On Friday night, the Delhi Daredevils (DD) did not play with the temperament required to win a big match, that too an eliminator and grab the chance to play in the Finals. The KKR face a similar test against the CSK who look like big match performers with every passing day.
The fact that the CSK made a sort backdoor entry into play-offs on Net Run Rate, after 3 other contenders literally fizzled out is of no account. The Chennai team has only followed a familiar script of bouncing back after coming close to elimination, which has been their hallmark in all the editions of the IPL - though not like the present edition, where they had to sit biting their nails, waiting on three, yeah, three other teams to break down.
And the fact is that in all the editions of IPL, the CSK have been the team to beat once they qualify for the playoffs. CSK simply seem to transform themselves once they get out of the lethargy of the league stages.
Personally the result of the CSK versus KKR final match will depend -
- for the KKR on 3 players going good:
- a batsman - Gautam Gambhir and whether he makes a big score;
- a bowler - Sunil Naraine and whether he can still make some spin magic; and,
- an all rounder - Jacques Kallis and whether he can support above two.
- for the CSK on:
- whether they can and how good they tackle the above 3;
- whether they can castle Yusuf Pathan quickly and cheaply;
- whether they can pull together as a team, seeing that-
- Murali Vijay has shot his bolt by scoring a searing century - he is in the habit of making only one big score per IPL season;
- Suresh Raina is still in the doldrums and Bret Lee and Jacques Kallis are sure to pepper him, Murali Vijay and Badrinath with short pitch deliveries - all 3 are suspect against short pitch pace bowling;
- if they fail whether someone else will step forward to be counted; and,
- their so far excellent ground fielding in the playoffs.
So there you have it. The ground gossip is that all the ‘Gods’ have been appeased for a Kolkata Knight Riders win.
For the CSK versus KKR IPL finals at Chepauk, the temperature will be solid, humid, 28 to 26 degrees Celsius with 45 to 60% humidity and absolutely no chance of rain. The pitch would be fair, offering grip for the spinners of both teams though the ball will come on to the bat more easily in the first 10 overs. Dew factor? What is that?