Defending champions Chennai Super Kings(CSK) will be banking on home advantage when they take on a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) in the Indian Premier League final on Saturday.
Chennai, led by India’s World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have won all of their seven league games at home this season and have lost just once in 12 matches over two editions.
Conditions at the Chidambaram stadium suit Chennai perfectly, leading to speculation that the low and slow wicket has been specially prepared for the home side.
The Chennai franchise is owned by N Srinivasan, secretary and president-elect of the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI), which owns and runs the IPL.
Chennai coach Stephen Fleming however believes that irrespective of the home advantage, his side will have to slug it out against a determined opposition.
“What we have picked is a side for these conditions, and we are very proud that we were smart enough to pick a side that would compete well at home,” said the former New Zealand captain.
“We certainly don’t take our home advantage for granted. We are going to have to work equally as hard because the team we will play in the final know they have got to play well to beat us at home.
“We have played some good cricket here. So if you wanted to play the final, it’d certainly be here for us.”
For Chennai, the biggest threat comes from Chris Gayle, the West Indies opener who has been on a roll ever since being snapped up by Bangalore as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes.
The muscular left-hander has scored 608 runs from just 11 innings to emerge as the highest run-getter in the Twenty20 competition ahead of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians skipper, was all praise for Chris Gayle who slaughtered his bowlers during a whirlwind 89-run knock off 47 balls on Friday to carry Bangalore into the final.
“All credit to Chris Gayle for the way he batted,” Tendulkar said after Mumbai crashed to a 43-run defeat to Bangalore to bow out of the tournament. “The way Chris Gayle started, that set the tone for them.”
Bangalore captain Daniel Vettori hoped Chris Gayle would repeat his magic once again and help the side bag their maiden IPL title after ending up as losing finalists in the 2009 edition.
“It’s certainly not easy to bowl to Gayle, he has been a great asset for us,” said the Kiwi left-arm spinner. “Conditions are going to suit the Chennai Super Kings in the final but we are up for it.”
The final will draw curtains on a tournament that began on April 8, just five days after the World Cup, spanning over seven weeks and 74 matches.
Chennai Super Kings (From): MS Dhoni(w/c), Srikkanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Shadab Jakati, Joginder Sharma, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, Albie Morkel, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Sudeep Tyagi, Ganapathi Vignesh, Murali Vijay, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas
CHENNAI – Players who can make impact…
MS Dhoni…..Some sportsmen are made for big occasions. And, Indian and Chennai skipper Dhoni certainly belongs to that league. His match winning knock in the world cup final barely two months ago supports that auspicious label. Going by his contribution in big matches, one can expect yet another blockbuster performance from him. Bangalore can underestimate him at their own peril. What makes Chennai a formidable outfit is the skipper’s ‘cool as a cucumber’ exterior and his ability to keep composure under pressure. His captaincy will be helped by the fact that he is no stranger to the finals in the IPL winning it once and emerging runner-up in the inaugural event.
Doug Bollinger….The Aussie pace-man has been one of the most economical bowlers in the tournament where bowlers have leaked runs in abundance. He ha made admirable adjustment to the low and spin friendly tracks of subcontinent, wickets with the new ball and giving nothing away in his comeback spell. The duel with marauding Chris Gayle could well be billed as a battle between two game-changers in the final. Chennai will be pinning their hopes on the spearhead to snare the big fish early and help them wrest initiative.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (From): Daniel Vettori(c), Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Arun Karthik, BN Bharath, Raju Bhatkal, AB de Villiers(w), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Pradeep, Muralidharen Gautam, Mohammad Kaif, Abrar Kazi, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Charl Langeveldt, Abhimanyu Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Ryan Ninan, Asad Pathan, Luke Pomersbach, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rilee Rossouw, Saurabh Tiwary, Johan van der Wath, Jonathan Vandiar, Chris Gayle, Syed Mohammad Jamaluddin
Bangalore vs Chennai in the IPL
BANGALORE – Players who can make impact…
Chris Gayle… The man of tournament. The most valuable player. The best batsman. The most influential player of the season. If any player deserves all these honours, it has to be Mr. Chris Gayle. Ever since he came as a replacement in the Bangalore side, the southpaw has been on prowl. And, the prowler has feasted on opposition bowlers with unprecedented disdain, swagger, thus making them look mere passengers who just roll their arms to see the ball fly in all directions. Such has been impact of his big hitting; the name can substitute the franchise name. If Gayle hits his straps once again in the grand finale, chances of Chennai defending their title are as good as over.
Daniel Vettori….Vettori, the leader, the astute thinker of the game, the calm head, the tactician and the wily bowler make him one man institution. A good student of game as he is, Vettori comprehends any match situation well and has a brain that every now and then comes up with a plan to get over it. On a slow Chennai pitch, Vettori’s four overs of left arm spin could well turn out to be a deciding factor in the game. For, he has an uncanny ability to read batsmen’s mind and indiscernible change in flight, trajectory and pace to bamboozle any batsman. All this makes him a fantastic operator and stylish Vettori would be keen to lead from the front on the big day. His tactical battle with his opposite number MS Dhoni will be worth watching.
Head to Head
Won by Bangalore: 5 (50.00%)
Won by Mumbai: 5 (50.00%)
Highest individual innings
Chennai: 83 not out Michael Hussey Chennai 16.4.11
Bangalore: 75 not out Chris Gayle Bangalore 22.5.11
Chennai: 266 (ave.33.25) in 9 matches Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Bangalore: 289 (ave.36.13) in 10 matches Virat Kohli
Best bowling in an innings
Chennai: 4/32 Albie Morkel Chennai 21.5.2008
Bangalore: 4/40 Vinay Kumar Bangalore 23.3.2010
Chennai: 13 (ave.21.46) in 10 matches Albie Morkel
Bangalore: 10 (ave.17.40) in 6 matches Vinay Kumar
Chennai: 106 (1st wkt.) Parthiv Patel & Matthew Hayden
at Port Elizabeth on 20.4.2009
Bangalore: 89 (2nd wkt.) Wasim Jaffer & Ross Taylor
at Banalore on 28.4.2008