After a gruelling 56 matches in the regular season, followed by three playoff matches, we are all set for the grand final of the 2018 Indian Premier League. It is only apt that the two best teams of the season – Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have qualified for the final. The final will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday, May 27 starting at 11:30pm AEST.
The season so far
Sunrisers topped the regular season charts with 18 points from 14 matches and were only marginally ahead of the Super Kings, who also had the same number of points. Chennai defeated Hyderabad in the first qualifier by two wickets to qualify for the final, while the Sunrisers had to take a detour to Kolkata to defeat the Knight Riders by 14 runs to make it to the final.
The sides have met three times during the season, with the Super Kings ruling the roost all three times. The first match in Hyderabad witnessed Ambati Rayudu blaze away to 79 off 37 balls to lead Chennai to a score of 182/3 and a four-run win. Kane Williamson tried to lead the chase with 84 off 51, but that wasn’t enough to go past Deepak Chahar’s 3/15 as the Sunrisers could only score 178/6.
The second match in Pune saw Chennai win by eight wickets riding on an unbeaten 100 off 62 balls by Rayudu leading the Super Kings to 180/2. This was in response to Hyderabad’s 179/4 that was built on Shikhar Dhawan’s 79 off 49.
The first qualifier was a thriller that was won by two wickets by Chennai. Hyderabad needed a late surge from Carlos Brathwaite (43 off 29) to reach 139/7. The Super Kings went up and down in the chase, but eventually held their nerve as Faf du Plessis dished out 67 off 42 to guide Chennai to 140/8.
Rayudu (586 runs, SR 153) has been the best player for Chennai all season long, thanks to his ability to find different gears at whatever position he is asked to play. His runs will once again be crucial for Chennai.
Rashid Khan (21 wickets, ER 6.78) is proving to be a one-man show for Hyderabad, having single-handedly won many matches including the second qualifier with both bat and ball. Can Chennai find an answer to his variations?
Super Kings have reached 6 IPL finals in 8 seasons, winning 2 titles.
Sunrisers have reached 1 IPL final in 5 seasons, winning 1 title.
Super Kings have scored the highest first 6 overs in 9 of their 15 matches this IPL.
Super Kings have won 8 of 10 matches against Sunrisers, including 3 this IPL.
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