IPL 5 Final Preview: CSK vs KKR

So, it's that time of the year again when Chennai and Dhoni lift the IPL trophy.



Even though it looks like there's no way this will end otherwise, not everyone agrees on this. Because it's also the battle between Indian cricket's two most rabid fan bases. No other fans get as riled up as Kolkata's and Chennai's, even though the latter likes to portray a sense of being the #knowledgeableChennaicrowd. Not that being intelligent and angry are mutually exclusive, of course. And please don't bring up Mumbai fans - there's always that sense of detachment, and it's all about Sachin anyway.

This was taken at a domestic Zimbabwe match last year.
The Teams

CSK had one major worry before their last game, and that was the form of Vijay and Raina. How they handle Kolkata's spin-heavy attack will be interesting to watch, because they'll have to make their own pace. Mike Hussey will be the key for me, along with Raina, as the left-handers will look to nullify KKR's left-arm spinners. The lower middle order will be more cautious - Bravo and Dhoni have become the most lethal death-overs batting pair, and Albie Morkel is just waiting to have a go, but they will have to contend with Rajat Bhatia and Sunil Narine. I'm having flashforwards just thinking about this stuff, I need some cake to calm me down.

KKR's top three aren't as settled, as Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis continue to be awful. The big bonus for them coming into the final will be the form of Yusuf Pathan. If he gets to face Albie Morkel, Shadab Jakati and Dwayne Bravo long enough he could have an even better game than he did against Delhi. Albie in particular tends to get away with a lot of length deliveries, someone needs to make him pay. KKR will once again depend on their bowlers to keep the lid on CSK - Narine has been bowling half his spell at the death in every game, which is where most of CSK's runs have come of late. I cannot stress how crucial that little battle will be.

Maybe we'll see more of this "driving the large invisible bus" celebration.


CSK always stick to their winning side, regardless of the futility of one or two players (*cough* Jadeja *cough*).

Best XI: M Vijay, M Hussey, S Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni (c)(wk), D Bravo, R Jadeja, A Morkel, R Ashwin, S Jakati, B Hilfenhaus.

KKR will consider replacing one of their left-arm spinners with either Brett Lee or Marchant de Lange. That would mean dropping either Shakib or Abdulla - if it's the latter, then McCullum will have to sit out as well and hand the keeping gloves to Debabrata Das. Or maybe they'll rest Narine, for balance, like Delhi did with Morkel? (That's right, I went there. Where? I don't know. I wanted to sound cool.)

Best XI: G Gambhir (c), B McCullum (wk), J Kallis, Y Pathan, S Al-Hasan, L Shukla, R Bhatia, I Abdulla, B Lee, S Narine, L Balaji.

Watch out for

Dhoni, Bravo and Morkel vs Narine: Yeah, I brought this up again. This is the game changing battle, really! My mouth's watering, and not just because I'm starving and there's biryani on the way.

Gambhir vs Ashwin: KKR's best player of spin (best player, period) will be looking to go after the spinners, Ashwin will be looking to make it an even contest.

Ravindra Jadeja vs work: Will he earn his money? Find out tomorrow!*

*No, he won't.