New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: After 59 matches and 3 playoff matches, the much-awaited final of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) is finally here. The final clash of the IPL 2021 will take place between Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Eoin Morgan's Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today.
If numbers are anything to go by, then CSK, in their astonishing ninth final appearance in 12 editions (they were suspended in two), are certain to start favourites against Kolkata Knight Riders on 'Dussera' day but in terms of trophies, there isn't much of a difference. CSK have three titles with five final defeats while KKR has won both their finals under the mercurial Gautam Gambhir.
After putting on a dismal show in the 2020 season in UAE, CSK made a remarkable comeback this year and some fearless cricket from the franchise has seen Dhoni's men reach the finals. CSK's chances of winning a fourth title will depend on how well they handle the 12 overs from KKR's spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy (economy rate 6.40), Shakib Al Hasan (ER:6.64) and Sunil Narine (ER:6.44), who have been outstanding in this tournament.
Dhoni might have managed to score just 114 runs from 15 matches this season, but he rose like a phoenix when the team needed him most and his best knock came in Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals. He scored 18 runs from six balls, rolling back time, giving fans a perfect nostalgia trip as the Chennai franchise roared into the final. His innings even got Virat Kohli to label Dhoni as the "greatest finisher ever".
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, and Dwayne Bravo have all played their roles to perfection and under Dhoni's leadership, the bunch has proved to be good on days when it has mattered.
Moving to KKR, Eoin Morgan's side was completely down and out in the India leg as the side had won just two games out of seven. However, travelling to the UAE brought about a change in fortunes. Venkatesh Iyer's inclusion provided the much-needed boost to the batting lineup and the Kolkata-based franchise has been playing fearless cricket. Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, and Rahul Tripathi have done their job too this season.
However, Eoin Morgan's form remains a concern as the left-handed batter has not played any innings of substance this season. In Qualifier 2 against Delhi, Morgan had a perfect chance to guide the side home, but he was not able to do that, and in the end, it was Tripathi who somehow took KKR over the line in a thriller.
Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy have acted as perfect partners in crime and the duo has spun a web over opponents this season and it would be interesting to see whether the likes of Gaikwad and Faf manage to get better of them.
KKR might also have the services of Andre Russell for the final and if that indeed happens, the side might just prove to have too much ammunition for Dhoni's side. However, looking at how Dhoni has led the side this season, one cannot bet against the man who has a knack for keeping his cool under the most intense situations.
(With Agencies Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan