Sachin doubtful; Mumbai face Chennai in final
Mumbai: Mired in a financial scandal, the Indian Premier League`s third season is set for a grand cricketing finale nonetheless with Mumbai Indians, sweating over talismanic skipper Sachin Tendulkar`s fitness, taking on Chennai Super Kings at the D Y Patil Stadium on Sunday.
IPL and controversy have been bed-fellows since the league`s very inception but this time, it`s a crisis of monumental proportions as allegations ranging from money laundering to betting to match fixing are flying thick and fast.
Besides, the league`s conceptualiser and boss Lalit Modi faces a grim future as the BCCI prepares to shut him out after being embarrassed by the Income tax department`s raids that have revealed murky financial dealings and benami holdings in at least three franchises.
Junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor lost his job after trying to "mentor" the Kochi franchise` bid while two other ministers in the government -- Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel --are facing the heat for their alleged involvement in the IPL`s affairs.
But despite furore off the field, it has been business as usual on it.
Ahead of the final, Mumbai are keeping their fingers crossed over Tendulkar`s finger injury.
The split webbing in his right hand could not have come at a more inopportune time for Mumbai who made their maiden entry into the Twenty20 event final by outsmarting Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday in the first semifinal.
A final call is to be taken on his availability later on Saturday but if he`s forced to sit out it will be a huge blow to Mumbai`s hopes of clinching the coveted title for the first time in three years.
Tendulkar has been in terrific form and was also declared the best batsman in the IPL awards function Friday night after notching up a tournament-high tally of runs (570 runs) going into the final.
Though the batting great has led his team astutely, others have also contributed significantly to pilot the Mumbai outfit into the summit clash.
Notable performers among these are Saurabh Tiwary, who has come good at every opportunity, Ambati Rayudu, who has also doubled up as a wicket keeper and done a fairly good job, and the big-hitting West Indian all rounder Kieron Pollard.
If Tiwary and Rayudu can be complimented for building on the strong base provided by Tendulkar`s mastery at the top, Pollard has wielded the bat like a pickaxe and provided a pulsating finish to the innings.
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