What: Final, Mumbai Indians vs. Rajasthan Royals
Where: Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi
When: Sunday, October 6, 2013, 14:30 GMT
Live Stream/TV info: BritishEurosport 2
The BCCI could not have scripted this any better, even if they had wanted to.
This is the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi, and two IPL sides are contesting for the Champions League T20 trophy.
Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are playing their last Twenty20 match. The Delhi crowd already suffered several bouts of frenzy a day earlier with Tendulkar not only showing glimpses of his class but also reaching 50,000 runs in recognised cricket. They will be back for more Sunday.
The Royals are making their maiden appearance, while Mumbai have already lifted the trophy once. But the Royals have already stamped their authority on this event, having made it to the final unbeaten. Mumbai sneaked through on superior run-rate, but they have Tendulkar in their side.
Both India stalwarts will be eager to bow out on a high, but it will their teammates’ performance—not theirs—that may very well decide the outcome and who gets the winner's cheque of USD $2.5 million.
Weather.com reckons it will be bright and sunny during the day with mild wind and highest of 24C during the evening. It might get a bit hot under the collar for the players, though, depending on how the match progresses.
The Ferozshah Kotla saw a two-paced pitch during the latter part of Trinidad and Tobago’s innings. The ball did flow off Evin Lewis’ bat early in the innings, but with pace taken off the ball, variable bounce played its fair share in brining Mumbai back into the game.
The Royals haven’t played here in the tournament, so far, while Mumbai played on Saturday and would’ve learnt a great deal.
The pitch won’t be shouting demons, and the short boundaries will ensure any surprises are forgotten quickly by not only the batsmen but also the crowd.
With the allround prowess the Mumbai Indians possess, it’s hard to pinpoint an individual who will hold the key to his side’s fortunes.
Dwayne Smith has been phenomenal at the top, Tendulkar’s presence—and his return to form—is a huge plus, Rohit Sharma has transformed his domestic and international game since being asked to lead, Nathan Coulter-Nile has been efficient and economical and Dinesh Karthik chips in well.
But it will be Kieron Pollard’s contribution with not just the bat but also the ball that may well shape the outcome of the match. Pollard gave away just 16 runs off his three overs in the semi-final, at a time when TandT were threatening a 160-plus total. His aggression with the bat is no secret, but his skill set with the ball is a trait often forgotten. Watch out Rajasthan.
The Royals lost out on Brad Hodge with an unfortunate injury in the semi-final, but with Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane, the tournament’s top scorer, opening the batting, Mumbai bowlers will have to put in their best effort.
Shane Watson’s bat seemed to have become heavier and the shots flying off it more vicious, and teammate James Faulkner’s accuracy and penetration improves with each spell.
But much will rest on the ageing shoulders of 41-year-old Pravin Tambe, who sits second behind Sunil Narine in the wicket-takers’ tally, in the final. He’s managed to spin the ball, make it skid off the surface and induced sharp bounce. Dravid will want more of that one last time to taste victory that will be sweeter than the last five combined.
Rohit Sharma (c), Sachin Tendulkar, Abu Nechim , Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rishi Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Dinesh Karthik, Glenn Maxwell, Pragyan Ojha, Akshar Patel, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Smith, Aditya Tare
Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (w), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, PravinTambe, Shaun Tait, Harmeet Singh, Rahul Shukla, Dishant Yagnik