The independent voice of cricket

Indian Premier League 2019

IPL 2019 daily brief: Chennai boss their way into another final

by Rishad D'Souza 3 minute read
Lead Image – AFP

It doesn’t get any more clichéd than this – not only have Chennai reached the IPL final for the umpteenth time, it’s also going to be the fourth time they face off against Mumbai Indians for the crown – all this in 12 seasons of the tournament, two of which Chennai weren’t a part of.

Having conceded the first Qualifier rather easily to Mumbai, Chennai struck back hard in the second, beating Delhi Capitals by six wickets, with an over to spare.

It was a complete team effort. Most encouragingly for Chennai, the openers – Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis – came good. Watson finding form, in particular, will raise alarm bells in the Mumbai camp.

What’s hot

Experience. We’ve all questioned the wisdom in Chennai’s move to field a bunch of over-35s, only to be proved wrong when Chennai, rather stunningly, won their third IPL title last season.

This season, they’ve once again shown that experience counts, even if it comes at the expense of a few extra runs conceded on the field.

On Friday, the army of veterans seemed calm and collected, while the youthful Delhi Capitals looked nervy and even clueless at times. Now, they’re in the hunt, alongside Mumbai, to become the first team to win four IPL titles.

What’s not

Delhi’s spin problems. We’re nitpicking here, but that is only because Delhi have had an outstanding season, and there’s not much they’ve done wrong. They seemed a formidable unit from their very first match this season, against Mumbai at the Wankhede, yet there was one chink in the armour – the turning ball.

That issue is best highlighted by the fact that they lost three of their first four matches at their home ground, Feroz Shah Kotla, on a pitch that often seemed more dry than a typical Indian day three Test surface.

They did eventually improve as the season went by, but against a side like Chennai, they needed to bring their A-game, which they simply weren’t able to do on a sluggish surface in Visakhapatnam.

What they said

“It’s the usual route, last year was an exception”

– Dhoni on making the final despite losing the first qualifier

What they didn’t say

“One more name change, and the cup should be ours”

– Shreyas Iyer, the Delhi captain, already has their strategy for the next season figured out

What’s next

It’s time for the women to take centre-stage again as Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas take on Mithali Raj’s Velocity in the final of the Women’s T20 Challenge, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

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