After displaying a brilliant show in the group stage and semi-finals, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians are geared up to lock horns in the most awaited final encounter of this year’s CLT20 to be held in the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals defeated MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings by 13 runs in the first semi-final in the fortress of Jaipur on Friday to extend their winning home streak to 13 matches in a row.
On the other side, the IPL 2013 champions Mumbai Indians snatched victory from Trinidad & Tobago by 4 wickets in the second semi-final match of the tournament in the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.
Rajasthan Royals won a million hearts by their disciplined performance in this edition of CLT20. Mr. Reliable – Rahul Dravid has marshaled his troops incredibly well right through the tournament and consequently the team has won all their 5 matches in this tournament.
The greatest advantage for the team in the tournament was playing all their league matches as well as the semi-final at their home ground – Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur. The highlight of this final will be zero exposure of Rajasthan Royals to Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.
It will be a real knotty task for them to adapt to the prevailing conditions in Delhi and continue the winning momentum there.
On the other hand, Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians have played 2 matches and registered 2 victories at the same venue recently, and the upcoming final will be their third consecutive match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. This will serve as a positive factor for the Mumbai Indians.
Rajasthan Royals look excellent in all the three departments of the game- batting, bowling and fielding. Ajinkya Rahane seems to be in sweet touch after his three consecutive half-century knocks at Jaipur.
The captain has been unable to perform as per the expectations in the tournament so far, and the fans will be expecting him to make his final T20 knock, a memorable one overcoming his futility.
Dravid lack of form in batting has been well-compensated by his brilliant captaincy throughout the series and has brought success to him and the team as well. The Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson will be the trump card for Royals once again.
The responsibility of posting a good total will be on the shoulders of young sensation Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Kevon Cooper and Ashok Menaria. Praveen Tambe’s tricky spin will be a tedious enigma to solve for the Mumbai Indians.
The biggest reason to worry for the Royals will be the unavailability of T20 star Brad Hodge in this crucial game. Hodge injured his knee after collision with teammate Shane Watson in the last over of the match against Chennai Super Kings. Shaun Tait is the only overseas replacement available for injured Hodge.
On the other side, Mumbai need to keep their cool despite their magnificent performances in the last two games.
Following the footsteps of Chennai Super Kings, the team can avail this rare opportunity to emerge as CLT20 winners, having already sealed IPL title earlier in the year.
Mumbai Indians will be expecting another brisk start from Dwayne Smith whereas Sachin Tendulkar would love to end his final blue-jersey appearance with a memorable knock.
Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu’s poor form in the middle-order will be a headache for the team. The decent spin combination – Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha will be expecting a good turn from the Kotla pitch.
Kieron Pollard, Mitchell Johnson and Coulter-Nile will be the other crucial players to watch out in this final.