The last match of the 10th edition of the IPL will see two sides who have dominated the season play each other. Three-time winners and table-toppers Mumbai Indians take on the 2nd-ranked Rising Pune Supergiant in the final in Hyderabad.
In case Rising Pune Supergiant do win this contest, it will result in a unique scenario where the champions are unable to defend their title – the Supergiants will not be part of the IPL next season.
Everything aside, MS Dhoni will feature in yet another IPL final, in the 10 editions till date Dhoni has been part of no less than 7 finals – a testament to the brilliance of the former Indian Captain with the bat and behind the stumps.
Rising Pune Supergiant made it to the playoffs due to some strong performances from their most expensive player Ben Stokes, who played some brilliant all-round cricket. He scored 316 runs at 8.57 runs per over and took 12 wickets in 44 overs while conceding runs at 7.18 runs per over. He has since left to train with the English team, but in the first qualifier the Supergiants managed to substitute him with MS Dhoni’s quick scoring and Washington Sundar’s brilliant spell with the ball. They will need to do the same for the final, but will need some more support from the other batsmen and bowlers.
Mumbai Indians on the other hand appear to have peaked too early in the tournament, with a harsh reality check after losing 3 out of their last 5 games, one of which came against the team they will play in the finals.
Mumbai Indians have made some brave calls throughout the tournament by not picking Rayudu when he was fit and benching Harbhajan Singh for the playoffs despite being their most economical bowler this season. Mumbai Indians instead made do with Nitish Rana, who was able to score runs quickly early in the season, and through Karn Sharma who, despite being more expensive than Harbhajan, picked wickets more regularly, slowing down opponents. However, Nitish’s form has since tapered off and it will remain to be seen if he can deliver in the final.
The final between the two Maharashtra sides will primarily be a battle of tactics. Both sides have used their resources well throughout the season and have rightly earned their spots in the final. Will it be Rising Pune Supergiant with their one and only IPL championship, or will it be Mumbai Indians who will go on to become the most successful IPL franchise if they win on Sunday? Whatever the result, the match promises to be an exciting one.