Mouth-watering final on cards as CSK face RCB
Chennai: With a captain who has redefined leadership with his calm and calculated approach, Chennai Super Kings are living up to their team name with an undefeated home run in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League. It would take quite an effort by Royal Challengers Bangalore to breach their fortress in the grand finale later today.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, considered the man with the midas touch, has led the defending champions to the finals with the same flair with which he marshals the Indian team.
Dhoni had pinned faith on his players despite losses in away games and it paid off in the seven home matches that Chennai won at the Chepauk.
It is to be seen whether Dhoni comes up with any surprises in the playing XI on Saturday.
Besides their record in the previous editions, Chennai are also playing at home in the summit clash and the capacity crowd that will throng the M A Chidambaram stadium on Saturday would be the team`s 12th man.
The team management is said to have forethought about missing some players midway through the IPL and the departure of Suraj Randiv for national duty for Sri Lanka did not affect the team balance.
Dwayne Bravo, who replaced Randiv, straightaway acquitted himself to the demands of this aggressive game.
In fact, the all-round abilities of Bravo have added zing to the attack.
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."
On the other hand, Chris Gayle’s explosive innings set up the platform for a sparkling entry into IPL 4 final for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as they beat Mumbai Indians by 43 runs the 2nd Qualifier on Friday.
The Bangalore outfit would look to register their first win against Super Kings in Chennai. They have never done it in any of the IPL editions so far.
For that they will have to look no further than in-form Chris Gayle to breach the champion`s stronghold. 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.
But Vettori was confident that even the other batsmen such as AB de Villiers have enough skills to help them lift the trophy on Saturday.
"Chris had fired most of the times when we picked him to play. AB has had a good tournament too and many guys in our team could do it. But obvious we have Chris Gayle as well," he said.
Vettori said he doesn`t want to analyse Friday night’s game too much and hoped his batsmen would come good against Chennai on Saturday as well.
"In 20-20 cricket it works on some days and players perform some days. We will not be analyzing too much in to these things. I hope the batters turn up on Saturday and come up with good performances," he had said after the match against Mumbai on Friday.
They also have a very good pacer in Zaheer Khan who will be looking to continue his battle against Hussey, and with the CSK side containing a few left-handers, the pace spearhead, will hope to influence proceedings to a greater degree.
In the spin department, they have left-arm spinner Syed Mohammed apart from their wily skipper Daniel Vettori.
"Looking at the statistics of teams winning batting first at Chennai, we wanted to bat first. It worked out and some days it does not work out," he said.
"The other strip is going to slower on Saturday. Obviously, Chennai has won lot of games at home. 99.9 per cent I will be playing the same team on Saturday," he said.