Charismatic captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni) would like to make his ‘farewell’ memorable by winning the fifth IPL title but there is such a ‘run machine’ in the form of Shubman Gill of Gujarat Titans (GT) in his way. Curbing the bat has proved to be a tricky affair for the bowlers this season.
An experienced captain known for his ‘Midas touch’ faces a young batsman who is also adept at technique in the IPL final, giving the audience a whole lot of entertainment. One is the golden history of Indian cricket and the other is the bright tomorrow to come. Some 19 years ago, when a young Dhoni was preparing to make his Indian team debut, a four-year-old Gill was playing with a hand-made bat by his grandfather in his large farm in Punjab’s Fazilka village on the Pakistan border.
Indian cricket’s future superstar Gill will be eager to hold the IPL trophy in his hands when 1,32,000 spectators at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday witness the soon-to-be-42-year-old Dhoni donning the yellow jersey for perhaps the last time. Dhoni’s biggest challenge in front of CSK will be to curb the bat of Gill, who has scored three centuries and 851 runs.
Deepak Chahar’s swing or Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling on the wicket. Moeen Ali’s ball going outside off-stump or Mathisha Pathirana’s ball falling on straight leg, no one knows what will break the concentration of the technically rich Gill. Dhoni’s fans would like to see him play again next year but he has played the entire IPL with a bandage on his left knee, so it is difficult for him to play again next season.
So for fans of ‘Thala’ (big brother in Tamil), this is an opportunity to relive every moment of Dhoni’s last match. He has come out to bat at number eight in most of the matches but he has given confidence to inexperienced bowlers like Tushar Deshpande and young batsmen like Shivam Dubey.
Dhoni’s charisma will never end. His captaincy will remain a part of the legends of Indian cricket. Gujarat, on the other hand, has a captain in Hardik Pandya who believes that there is only one way to lead the team which he has learned from Dhoni. Batsmen win matches but bowlers win tournaments and this has been proved by Titans.
Mohammed Shami (28 wickets), Rashid Khan (27 wickets) and Mohit Sharma (24 wickets) have done their job well. In the same batting, apart from Gill, Pandya has scored 325 runs. Devon Conway (625 runs), Ruturaj Gaikwad (564 runs), Ajinkya Rahane have scored 299 runs in 13 matches for Chennai while Dubey has scored 386 runs. Dubey has hit 33 sixes in this IPL. Sri Lanka’s Pathirana took 17 wickets and Deshpande took 21 wickets in bowling.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK): MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicket-keeper), Akash Singh, Moeen Ali, Bhagat Verma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dubey, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangergekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mondal, Mathisha Pathirana, Dwayne Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rashid, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjit Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Mahesh Tikshna.
Gujarat Titans (GT): Hardik Pandya (Captain), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudarshan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav , R. Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmed, Dasun Shanaka, Odion Smith, KS Bharath, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little and Mohit Sharma. The match will start at 7.30 pm.
Read the latest sports news on The Eastern Herald.