IPL 2019 Final: One change that Chennai Super Kings should make against Mumbai Indians
Chennai Super Kings are yet again in the final of an IPL tournament. This is the 8th time they have reached the final out of 10 appearances. It is as if the IPL is one contest where CSK is always one of the finalists by default and the race is amongst the other 7 teams to reach the finals.
This time around, CSK are up against the best all-around team of the tournament, Mumbai Indians. Both these teams have met thrice in the final and Mumbai have had the upper hand with 2 wins. Both the teams have won the coveted trophy thrice and whoever wins this time will become the most successful team in the tournament history. Hence there is a lot at stake in the final on Sunday.
Going into the finals, the Chennai franchise would love to make one change in their playing XI. Shardul Thakur, who came into the team in the last match, bowled only one over in Qualifier 2 against Delhi Capitals and conceded 13 runs.
Thakur went wicketless in his previous 2 matches against SRH and RCB. He has been the most expensive bowler for CSK this year with an economy of 9.38. The one option for CSK would be to bring back Murali Vijay in place of Thakur to strengthen their batting.
In the final, there is the possibility that Mumbai Indians might opt to bat first while CSK might look to chase. In such a scenario, an additional batsman in the form of Murali Vijay should help CSK’s cause if are to chase.
But the hitch with such selection is now that both Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis have shown form against Delhi, Vijay could be slotted only in the middle order which is not his natural batting position. Hence this move could backfire for CSK.
Karn Sharma for Shardul Thakur
The wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad is expected to be slow, making it more suited to spinners than fast bowlers. Karn Sharma would be a better option for CSK to exploit such favourable spinner friendly conditions. He could be the sixth bowling option for CSK against the mighty Mumbai batting lineup.
Karn is a decent bat too. Being a left-hand batsman, he could be used as a floater in the batting line-up to upset the rhythm of the left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya and wrist-spinner Rahul Chahar. Besides, Karn Sharma had been the lucky charm of IPL as he has ended up on the winning side in the last 3 IPL finals that he has been a part of.
Though Dhoni normally wouldn’t believe in upsetting a winning combination, this specific change is more necessitated by the conditions.
On current form and head-to-head records, MI hold the upper hand over CSK. However, CSK are, by no means, a pushover. For CSK, players like Dhoni and Raina have the experience of playing in more finals than anyone else in IPL history. That should stand them in good stead in yet another final appearance for them.