As the Indian Premier League (IPL) 8 is coming to an end, we witnessed a number of interesting, exciting and terrific matches among the top teams vying for the title. The magnanimous Mumbai Indians (MI) stormed into the IPL-8 final with a 25-run victory over Chennai Super Kings during the first qualifier playoff of IPL-8 in Mumbai. As Harbhajan Singh seemed in full form giving trouble to the CSK batting order and eventually picking wickets of Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni, Mumbai Indians made a clear and straight statement – We are here to win!
In the eliminator match between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Bangalore cruised to a comfortable victory over Rajasthan by 71 runs on 20 May at the MCA Stadium in Pune. The Bangalore team faces CSK in the second qualifier now to be played on Friday, the champion of which will meet Mumbai Indians in the summit clash on Sunday. While the two-time champions, CSK will play at their skipper’s hometown in Ranchi, the MI will look forward to who will be their opponent in Sunday’s final in Kolkata.
As Mumbai Indians have reserved their seat in the final, we look forward to who could be the winner of IPL 8. So, will it be the Rohit Sharma-led MI who seems to be unstoppable at the moment or the Dhoni-led CSK? Or will it be Virat Kohli’s RCB?
Rohit Sharma’s Captaincy a strong point for MI
Looking at the current scenario, Mumbai Indians seem to be the favourite as they have sealed their place in the final. The Mumbai Indians are the best in-form team of IPL 2015 and are on a winning streak. Rohit Sharma’s captaincy has been fantastic. He is impressive at controlling his side on-field and understands the game very well. His communication with the team has been inspiring and he knows all the tactics of the game.
Why the MI look stronger!
Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons have displayed solid partnerships in this cash-rich tournament. Both are in good form and are attacking the bowlers. The change of tactics and partnerships between them is paying rich dividends.
Their motto this year seems to be playing cricket fearlessly, which can be seen in their powerful batting line-up. They are not worried about getting out and are concentrating on making more runs and dominating the bowlers. Aggressive and fearless middle order batsmen such as Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Ambati Rayudu are their advantages. All of them have performed well when needed the most.
The bowling department looks impressive with Mitchell McClenaghan, Harbhajan and Malinga on their side. While Malinga is a key death bowler, Harbhajan has impressed with his economical middle over bowling. The most effective and inspiring department is the MI support staff consisting of living legends such as Jonty Rhodes, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. MI as a team is playing well, their co-ordination is splendid and they are in flow.
RCB or CSK: Who has a chance?
Both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will fight against each other to reach the final of the Indian Premier League 8.
The CSK stand second with six points from four games in the points table whereas the RCB are at the bottom with only two points from three outings.
The Royal challengers will be under pressure after their back-to-back failures against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, and will try to recuperate the energy and momentum. It would not be an easy task to lock horns with the two-time champions who would be looking forward to bag the top position in the points table.
Virat Kohli’s side (RCB) has only been able to win one out of their three previous matches and the responsibility and expectations would be on the impressive batting line-up to put up a better show against the CSK. With Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers (who is in excellent form), and Virat Kohli, the RCB batting line-up seems nothing less than a fire cracker. However, the bowling department looks a bit fragile in the absence of Mitchell Starc. Even Varun Aaron has not been able to impress.
The Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, have an advantage of playing at the skipper’s home ground. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team has shown tremendous performance in all departments of the game up till now in the 2015 IPL tournament. They have one of the deadliest opening combinations of the T20 layout. Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith are dreaded by bowlers and both are in great form. In fact, Smith, with his fabulous 30-ball 62 against the Mumbai Indians, proved it right. Both in-form bowlers will look forward to the game against RCB.
Suresh Raina and Faf Du Plessis, who also became the first cricketer to play 100 matches for single franchisee, are yet to have a blaring season and will look forward to some great knocks. Skippers MS Dhoni, with 117 runs in four matches together with a half century, will add up to the CSK score board productively. All rounder Dwayne Bravo will play a key role. The bowling front too looks powerful with Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma and Dwayne Bravo.
The strongest contender as of now is the Mumbai Indians who could take away the IPL 8 Twenty20 Trophy. We can hope to see the Mumbai Indians lock horns with Chennai Super Kings in the final on May 24 in Kolkata.