With the conclusion of the 2018 IPL auctions, many had mocked Chennai Super Kings’ strategy of opting for elderly players, as most of the players were above 30 years of age.
Cricket news: He is someone who can change the momentum of the game anytime, says Kumar Sangakkara
But when it came to May 27, the day of the big finals, it was Chennai among the last two teams standing tall with the likes of Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni, who have steered the two-time champions to their 7th IPL final.
Former Sri Lanka captain and veteran Kumar Sangakkara feels that CSK had some specific plans from the first and they have executed them perfectly all throughout the tournament.
“CSK picked the side with a very specific purpose. They had a clear idea who they wanted to get. They settled on the players who had the ability but also experience on their side and it has worked for them so far,” Sangakkara told TOI ahead of the final.
Sangakkara had earlier been part of IPL playing for different franchises like Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad. He believes that CSK will be more confident than their opponents.
“We don’t know how much this extended break between matches will help Chennai. We’ll have to see if it works out in their favour. But CSK will be heading into the final full of confidence, having already beaten the Sunrisers three times this season and they’ll be hoping if they can make it a fourth on Sunday,” he said.
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones feels that the team which will make the least number of mistakes will come out victorious in the finals.
“Key is to get some of the bangers (big hitters) out before the 16th over. There is the additional pressure of a final. We have usually seen that finals are won by the team that makes the least mistakes,” Jones said.
When Jones was asked about the captaincy of MS Dhoni, he said, “MS (Dhoni) has his own style of captaincy, he waits for the opposition to make mistakes by squeezing the life out of opposing teams. Kane (Williamson) is different because we saw bat-pads, slips and that was what got (Andre) Russell out on Friday.”
Sangakkara however feels that the final will be a one man show and it will shape on how the CSK batsmen face SRH’s match-winner Rashid Khan.
“For me, it will be Rashid Khan vs the Chennai batsmen. That is one of the reason (Ambati) Rayudu has dropped down to No. 4 to handle the threat of Rashid with Suresh Raina. How Chennai handle SRH pacers on the Wankhede track in the early over and how they deal with Rashid in the middle will dictate the course of the final,” the Sri Lankan said.
Meanwhile when Jones was asked to pick his favourite foreign and uncapped player of this year’s IPL, he said, “The best foreign player has to be (Sunil) Narine of KKR with Williamson coming close. The best uncapped players for me will be Rishabh Pant of the Daredevils. Rashid has been up and down but if you want someone to change momentum of the game, it’s Rashid who has been up there.”