IPL 2021 Final, CSK vs KKR: Strategy battle of Dhoni & Morgan. Who'll win the trophy today?
The final match of IPL 2021 will feature the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Both teams defeated the Delhi Capitals to earn a place in the 2021 Indian Premier League final.
The Dubai International Cricket Stadium will play host to this mega match. Notably, neither the Chennai Super Kings nor the Kolkata Knight Riders qualified for the playoffs last year. But in the current season, they have played exceptionally well to reach the summit clash. CSK completed a double over KKR in the league round of IPL 2021. However, KKR have the momentum on their side, having won their last five matches.
Two World Cup-winning captains will lock horns in an IPL final for the first time in history, but their experience in the cash-rich league varies drastically. While Dhoni has been here 10 times, nine with CSK, Morgan will be at the toss of an IPL final in his first full season as captain.
KKR have never lost an IPL final, but what they have lost is each league game against CSK this year. The Men in Yellow overcame an Andre Russell blitz to win by 18 runs in the first phase before a last-ball thriller in Abu Dhabi ended in CSK's favor. But past records and laurels amount to nothing in an IPL final - a fact both CSK and KKR will be perfectly aware of.
Well-rested CSK seek ruthlessness on hugely important day
There's a certain ruthlessness to the current CSK outfit. Even though they barely held onto a top-two spot after losing each of their last three league matches and needed a fiery cameo in Qualifier 1 from a man who hadn't contributed anything with the bat until then, CSK have always been in control in IPL 2021.
The venue changes that have killed the momentum of brilliant T20 teams like the Mumbai Indians haven't affected CSK as much. In fact, they've only made CSK better. Now, five days after their win over the Delhi Capitals at the same venue, they are embarking on their biggest challenge yet in IPL 2021.
In KKR, who've played two games in the last four days, CSK are up against a team that isn't well-rested. But the makeup of the KKR side means they should be fresh for the final encounter. With only two pacers, KKR have relied on their spin choke to derail opposition batting lineups.
DHONI vs MORGAN
This is the first time in IPL history that two 50-over World Cup-winning captains will face off in a final. MS Dhoni, who lead India to victory in the 2011 World Cup, will be up against Eoin Morgan, who was the last to lift the coveted ODI trophy in England two years ago.
Both captains are quite similar in nature and are known for their cool and calm demeanour. But what Dhoni has over Morgan is the experience of playing and winning more finals.
Dhoni has won every major title he has led in, that includes all three ICC trophies - 2007 T20 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy, 2011 World Cup - and three IPL trophies in 2010, 2011 and 2018.
Morgan on the other hand, has one World Cup title in his cabinet as captain and one T20 WC trophy as a player. But he neither has played nor has led in as many finals as Dhoni which could make a difference on Friday night in Dubai.
Morgan is as quiet and as unexpressive as Dhoni even in testing times and it would be a contest of two ticking brains trying to gauge the next move in what promises to be a mouth-watering three-hour battle.