Chennai Super Kings were the first team to qualify to the final of the IPL-2021, by defeating Delhi Capitals in the first qualifier. Chennai has had a very comfortable journey so far. They were the first team to qualify for the play-offs.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders had a very interesting live-on-the-edge journey. After the first leg in India, most people had written them off, considering their situation, where they had just won 2 games out of the 7 games played.
In the second leg, Eoin Morgan suddenly got a magic wand, which first let them win 5 games out of the remaining 7 games to finish as the fourth qualifier, thanks to their healthy run-rate. And later, they scrapped through Royal Challengers in the eliminator and then they won a thriller against Delhi Capitals from an almost lost situation at the end. Many might say that, they get themselves in difficult situation because of their reckless game play, but I would surely say that this positive and attacking game play has got them so far and they should stick to it.
It goes without saying that three-time champions Chennai will start the final as favourites, under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Chennai always play with a very long batting line-up, which allows them to play freely all throughout the innings and consistently attack the opponents.
With Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar coming in at number 8, 9 and 10, there is practically no tail in this team. Ruturaj Gaikwad has had a dream run this season with over 600 runs to his name. Mr Consistent - Faf du Plesis with 547 runs has been another reason.
Last game, Robin Uthappa also came to the party with some amazing stroke play. To add on, a middle order which consists of Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo; would give shivers to any bowling line-up. Since Chennai back its batting, bowling is kept very simple and straight forward with the main intent of restricting the opponent to the minimum runs possible. Since majority of the bowlers are experienced, there is not a lot that needs to be told to them and rarely Dhoni needs to interfere in.
Kolkata are exactly the opposite of Chennai. They like to keep the things animated, aggressive and attacking. At no point, they like the plane to be on auto-pilot. There are a numerous number of games, which were straight forward simple wins, but they made it interesting and then won a thriller. As fans, this generally looks very interesting, with all the rush of blood doing its action. But then all is well, till the ship sails through. On those days, when the storm takes the ship down, the captain looks pretty stupid and out of control.
KKR were helped by the brilliant form of Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi, who have done majority of the run scoring among themselves. The middle order is nothing less than a powerhouse on paper. With the likes of Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Ul Hassan and Sunil Narine, everything and anything looks possible. But as of now, considering their current form, even the simplest of target looks impossible.
KOLKATA LOOK TO TURN TABLES
The match is at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and the average first inning score is 152 runs. Out of the 11 games played at this venue, 9 have been won by team chasing the target. In qualifier 1, Chennai chased 172 runs set by Delhi Capitals with 2 balls to spare. Considering it being the final of IPL, it should be a pure batting paradise with a lot of runs in the surface. Both the batting strong teams should have a very closely fought high-scoring encounter. Sometimes, luck plays a big factor in such high-profile tournament and for this reason, Kolkata will start this match as favourites and might finish this match as champions of IPL 2021.