Chennai Super Kings ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders’ offer for third IPL title resurgence

Clever Mahendra Singh Dhoni captain in canary yellow will be the Chennai Super Kings’ greatest weapon against a clinic Kolkata Knight Riders, whose top-notch spinner troika promises to hold the aces in the Indian Premier League final at the index. ‘high octane here on Friday.

If the numbers are to be trusted, then CSK, in their astonishing ninth final appearance in 12 editions (they were suspended in half), are certain to start favorites against the Kolkata Knight Riders on ‘Dussera’ day, but in terms of trophies, there isn’t much of a difference.

CSK has three titles with five final defeats while KKR won its two finals under mercurial Gautam Gambhir. No team has mastered the art of reaching the final like Dhoni’s CSK.

But KKR will definitely be on the hunt as they won one of the most thrilling summit clashes of 2012 where they chased down a 190 target with two bullets to spare.

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On Friday, CSK’s chances of winning a fourth title will depend on how they handle the 12 overs of the KKR spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy (economic rate of 6.40), Shakib Al Hasan (ER: 6.64) and Sunil Narine (ER: 6.44), who have been exceptional in this tournament.

In fact, Shakib’s overall abilities provided KKR with more balance during the close of business once Andre Russell suffered a hamstring injury.

However, the final match comes with its own set of pressures and how these three behave when put under the pump will be key against a team of battle-hardened pros.

Dhoni’s captain mantra is simple – rely on experience as IPL is not a finishing school or a place to prepare young people, however talented they may be.

He treated Ruturaj Gaikwad when the pressure of qualifying was on his back in 2020 and the boy from Pune played freely.

It marked three half centuries and with its rise, Dhoni laid the groundwork not only for next year, but for many more to come from his franchise.

It should come as no surprise that Gaikwad becomes the next CSK captain once Dhoni ends IPL, which could be next year or the year after.

No one knows the drifts and patterns of the IPL better than India’s most revered white ball captain.

He understands that for the regularity of the IPL, you mainly need experienced players as well as one or two talented youngsters.

Therefore, the work Suresh Raina did in his early years is now done by young Gaikwad, who scored over 600 points in the tournament with one game to go.

Hell or high water, the stick of CSK will revolve around Gaikwad, who, if all goes well, will surely be one of the biggest all-format batting stars of the post-Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma era.

Experience is abundant in the ranks of the CSK. The skipper himself is on the other side of the 40 with Dwayne Bravo at 38, Faf du Plessis at 37, Ambati Rayudu (36) Robin Uthappa a few weeks away from his 36th birthday with Moeen Ali (34) and Ravindra Jadeja (32).

Add to that three experienced mid-level internationals like Josh Hazlewood, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, who understand pressure situations well and CSK seem immune to the big pressures of matches.

Dhoni is a master of resource maneuvering. An example of this IPL was his “right hand man” and a true IPL legend Raina being ditched.

The former Indian player looked distinctly overweight and completely out of touch and the ruthless operator replaced him with Uthappa, who was instrumental in winning the game against the Delhi Capitals with this resounding start to the chase.

The Knight Riders, meanwhile, also have a captain who has won a World Cup and has been at the heart of the England squad’s transformation as captain of the white ball.

Many believe that Russell the hitter should replace Morgan, who had a terrible IPL with the Willow.

But it is leadership that has stood the test of time because it has mobilized its available resources well. He stayed with Shubman Gill as the opener and the youngster had a decent run.

The faith shown in Venkatesh Iyer will also benefit the Indian whiteball team as Narine the bowler found his mojo beneath him with constant support after a reshaped action.

Morgan is as calm and expressionless as Dhoni, even in testing, and it would be a two-brained contest trying to gauge the next move in what promises to be a mouth-watering three-hour battle.

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negihrierna, Sandivam Warsidhube, Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert.

Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad , Shardul Thakur, R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth.

Start of the match: 7:30 p.m. IST

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