IPL 2019: Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians battle for their fourth IPL trophy

Updated: May 12, 2019, 07:30 IST | G Unnikrishnan | Hyderabad

Will instinctive MS Dhoni or pragmatic Rohit Sharma win the final as CSK and MI lock horns tonight for their fourth IPL trophy

Autograph hunters and selfie-seekers accompanied Chennai Super Kings players at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport till the exit point. Dhoni uncle, Bravo saar and Raina bhai did oblige a few of them. Now, familiar with all those attention and acts of adulation, they never looked flurried. In fact, a few of them played along with the younger fans.

All the clamour was not surprising either considering the Super Kings's fan base that has long back broken the city barriers. But today, they will face another familiar but less friendly band — Mumbai Indians, their opponents in the IPL-12 final to be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here. The Mumbai Indians have lorded over Chennai unlike any other team this season — winning all the three encounters including the Qualifier 1 at Chepauk.

Also Read: IPL 2019: Clinical CSK beat DC by 6 wickets to enter 8th IPL final

The supremacy Mumbai hold over Chennai is not a coincidence but the result of meticulous work on and off the field. In fact, Mumbai have toppled Chennai seven times in the last eight meetings.

The leadership of Rohit Sharma has played a massive role in it. Rohit may not amaze you with out of the box moves like his counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni does at times. Remember, Dhoni employing a straight mid-off against Kieron Pollard in the 2010 final?

Rohit goes about his captaincy more conventionally. But he backs it up with hard data and performance analysis. Rohit brings in players suited for conditions prevalent at a venue but without effecting large-scale chopping that can crush the nucleus of the team. Moreover, he knows exactly which batsman should come out or which bowler he should turn to in a particular situation.

For example, the Mumbai skipper often turns to Lasith Malinga when Raina comes to the middle because the left-hander has had his share of struggles against the bounce and angle of the Lankan pacer. Or for that matter, bringing in off-spinner Jayant Yadav against Chennai in the Qualifier 1. It was a game-changing move.

Also Read: IPL 2019: Harbhajan Singh bowling with confidence, says Brett Lee

Legendary Sunil Gavaskar summed up Rohit's captaincy. "The first time he led Mumbai Indians to an IPL win, that was his first season as a captain and he impressed with his knowledge of what to do next more than what to plan. The planning takes place inside the dressing room but that plan can actually go awry and for that, you need a captain to take the spot decisions. Rohit has that ability," Gavaskar had said.

Dhoni too believes in execution but more of the instinctive type. Both MI and CSK are eyeing their fourth IPL title and who will hold the silverware high? Instinctual Dhoni or pragmatic Rohit?

No. of runs scored by wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni in eight IPL finals

No. of dots bowled by Harbhajan Singh in 159 IPL matches, the most by any bowler

No. of times Rohit Sharma has lost in IPL finals. He was a part of the Deccan Chargers in 2009 and has led MI to three titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017

No. of wickets claimed by MI pacer Lasith Malinga in 121 IPL matches, the most by any bowler

Also Read: IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians' Hardik Pandya sounds warning ahead of IPL final

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