Cricket fans are preparing for the main event in the Indian Premier League (IPL), as the 2011 Final takes place on Saturday 28th May 2011.
The IPL 2011 Final will see the 2010 Champions, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) take on 2009 Runners-Up, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
RCB were the league winners, on 19 points, a point ahead of CSK, but the teams could not be more finely poised for this final, and most neutral fans are split as to who will win out in this T20 final.
The match will come down to individual performances on the day – and both sides have more than their fair share of highly skilled proponents of the super-short form of cricket.
CSK have got perhaps the deeper batting lineup, spearheaded by the World Cup winning Indian captain, Dhoni. They also acquired “Mr Cricket” Mike Hussey in January, and he is a man capable of piling on runs when he is in the mood. From 13 matches, Hussey has an average of 39, which is bettered, in CSK, only by Dhoni, whose average is 46.25 from 12 matches, and Subramaniam Badrinath, who has scored a monumental average of 56.57 runs from 13 matches.
RCB have a reasonable batting lineup of their own, with the powerful West Indian Chris Gayle at the top of their batting pile. Gayle has a quite ludicrous average of 76 runs, gained over 11 matches. He will be their key man, it is felt, in this Final. Much depends on the number of runs Gayle can score, as there is not quite so much high-scoring potential through RCB’s squad.
However, there are some excellent bowlers in the RCB ranks, who can provide the platform for players like Gayle to cut loose with willow in hand. Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, and left-arm spinner, is a notable bowler, who is always very economical.
The feeling is that this final will come down to whether or not each side is able to take key wickets early enough to prevent talented batting lineups from doing the damage.
This is perhaps the most finely poised IPL Final since the competition launched in 2008 – the question is whether it will be a second victory in three years for Chennai Super Kings; or a first IPL crown for Royal Challengers Bangalore? 40 overs of exciting T20 cricket will provide the answer.
The IPL 2011 Final will take place at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, and begins at 8pm IST (16:30 CET; 15:30 BST), on the evening of Saturday 28th May 2011.