Mumbai has the drive to deny the experienced Chennai side a third crown

With off-field controversies taking the spotlight on Saturday, it is time for two-time champion Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and challenger Mumbai Indians (MI) to bring the curtain down on Pepsi IPL-VI at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

There is a growing fear of rain interfering with the summit clash, as the city has experienced unseasonal rain over the last few days. In case of a complete washout, there is a provision to play the match on Monday.

The biggest advantage CSK enjoys is that the team has played four finals before this one and on every occasion the team was led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. A well-balanced side with an equal number of effective left and right-handed players in both batting and bowling makes CSK the team to watch out for in this year’s final as well.

Equally talented

Mumbai Indians too is equally talented if not as strong as its rival. The side, by virtue of finishing No. 2 in the league stage, is a worthy opponent for the best-ever team in the IPL. Having lost the first qualifier to CSK, MI made it to the final the hard way and should be ready to challenge the might of the Chennai side.

A good pace attack, proven spinners, a batting line-up that runs deep and the ability to field well even under pressure are MI’s strengths. The team should also be a little more familiar with the conditions.

CSK too is a splendid fielding side. The team has two outstanding individuals in Michael Hussey, the Orange Cap holder, and Dwayne Bravo, currently second in the Purple Cap category. A wicket or more in the final will allow the West Indian to reclaim the cap.

CSK’s best quality is its ability to adapt to the conditions. Endowed with high-calibre players such as Suresh Raina, R. Ashwin, Dhoni, and Ravindra Jadeja among others, CSK could enjoy a marginal edge over MI in terms of talent.

For MI, the in-form Dwayne Smith, free-stroking Rohit Sharma, new-find opener Aditya Tare, multi-talented Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu will be looking to avenge the final defeat of 2010.

Another chance

MI established its superiority over CSK by winning both the league games this season. But when it came to the knockout, CSK proved to be the tougher side.

The game on Sunday will give MI another opportunity to prove its class. Figuring in its second final in six editions, MI is expected to be hungrier to win the crown than CSK. The off-field happenings too are bound to have an effect on CSK.

It is to be seen whether the team, despite the presence of the calm and composed Dhoni, can withstand the pressure.

For MI, Rohit has done well as captain so far. But he lacks experience and Sunday could be the day of reckoning for him and his team members.