Paul Radley provides the lowdown for Sunday's showdown in Mumbai
When is the 2018 IPL final? All you need to know ahead of Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Chennai Super Kings will meet Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Vivo Indian Premier League 2018 final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday May 27, starting at 5.30pm UAE time. The match will be broadcast live on beIN Sports 13 HD.
Chennai went straight to the final at the first attempt, after beating Sunrisers in a low-scoring thriller in Mumbai in the first qualifying playoff.
They finished second in the table, level on points with Sunrisers, to whom they gave up a marginal run-rate differential.
The Hyderabad side got there in the end, though, as they made it through via a second-chance eliminator match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday night.
That arrested a run of five matches without a win, as the side who dominated the early exchanges of this year’s competition only stumbled through to the final.
Chennai have never missed out on the playoffs in the eight seasons they have played in the IPL. Even though they were suspended for the two previous seasons on account of a corruption scandal, they remain one of the most successful sides in the competition’s history.
Only Mumbai Indians, with three, have won more than the two titles CSK have managed, and CSK’s win percentage of over 61 per cent is comfortably the best of any franchise.
Sunrisers only formed five years ago – five years after the league’s inception. They got up to speed remarkably quickly. This will be their second final, having won the 2016 IPL.
Lungi Ngidi has only played six of the 15 matches for CSK so far, but the young South African fast-bowler has been a revelation.
The 22-year-old has the second best economy rate in the tournament, and he took 4-10 in the final league match, against Kings XI Punjab.
Ambati Rayudu has provided the bulk of their runs, while MS Dhoni has provided a number of finishing masterclasses.
Whether anyone can quite match the individual feats of Rashid Khan, however, is questionable. The Afghan legspinner has been irresistible, particularly during the pressure matches at the business end of the tournament.
CSK made in through to the final in spite of Rashid’s excellence in the qualifier play-off.
And against KKR on Friday, he played near enough the perfect individual T20 match: a late, vital batting cameo, a run out, two tense catches in the final over, and he was nigh-on unplayable with the ball.