IPL 2021: MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings face Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders in final


A graphic of the Chennai Super Kings (left) and Kolkata Knight Riders (right) badges on a colourful background
CSK won the 2010, 2011 and 2018 titles, while KKR won in 2012 and 2014
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium Date: 15 October Time: 15:00 BST
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary and text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app

Chennai Super Kings will face Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 Indian Premier League final in Dubai on Friday.

MS Dhoni’s CSK are hoping to win their fourth IPL title, while Eoin Morgan’s KKR are bidding for their third.

The two sides have faced each other in one previous final in 2012, when KKR won by five wickets.

Here is who and what to watch out for in this year’s final of the world’s most lucrative Twenty20 league.

Ones to watch

CSK – MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali and Ruturaj Gaikwad

A split image of Chennai Super Kings players MS Dhoni (left), Moeen Ali (centre) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (right)

CSK captain Dhoni has had a quiet tournament with the bat, but in the first qualifier he made an unbeaten 18 off six balls, hitting the 13 needed off the final over to beat Delhi Capitals.

Regardless of what happens in the final, a lot of attention will be on the 40-year-old former India skipper – will this be his last IPL game or will he be back in 2022?

England all-rounder Moeen has not been as strong with the bat since the IPL resumed last month, averaging 14.25 in eight innings in the United Arab Emirates, with two ducks, compared to 34.33 in six knocks in India.

But his bowling remains tough for batters to hit, with Moeen having one of the best economy rates in the tournament at 6.35 runs per over.

Gaikwad has formed a fine opening partnership with former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, scoring 603 runs so far and needing just 24 more to surpass Punjab Kings’ KL Rahul as the top runscorer in the 2021 IPL.

The 24-year-old, who made his India T20 debut in July but missed out on their World Cup squad, is one of only four batters in this year’s tournament to hit a century, along with Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal.

KKR – Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan and Venkatesh Iyer

A split image of Kolkata Knight Riders players Sunil Narine (left), Eoin Morgan (centre) and Venkatesh Iyer (right)

With Andre Russell having missed KKR’s last six matches and a doubt for the final because of a hamstring injury, fellow West Indies all-rounder Narine has been key, offering aggressive hitting and tricky off-spin.

After not being selected for the T20 World Cup because of fitness concerns, Narine showed why West Indies could rue that decision with a star performance in victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator.

England captain Morgan has struggled with the bat in this year’s IPL and particularly since the resumption, scoring two ducks and only passing double figures once in his last eight innings.

But his calm leadership has been crucial and the tactical battle against Dhoni will be fascinating.

Where many batters have stumbled on slower pitches in the UAE, KKR opener Iyer has flourished, scoring 320 runs at an average of 40.

The 26-year-old made his IPL debut last month and has since hit three half-centuries – more than any other KKR batter in the whole tournament – including a vital 55 off 41 balls in the second qualifier win.

Routes to the final

An image of CSK coach Stephen Fleming (left) and KKR coach Brendon McCullum (right) with a graphic on top that shows: seasons played - CSK 11, KKR 13, titles - CSK 3, KKR 2, runners-up - CSK 5, KKR 0
Both finalists are managed by former New Zealand captains and team-mates Stephen Fleming (left, CSK) and Brendon McCullum (right, KKR)

The 14th edition of the IPL was suspended in May, a month after it had started, because of a rise in coronavirus cases among players in India.

The tournament resumed in September in the UAE.

CSK were second in the table when the competition was suspended and held on to that spot despite losing their last three group games.

They then beat table-toppers Delhi by seven wickets in the first qualifier.

KKR were second bottom with only two wins from seven matches in India.

However, they won five of their last seven group games in the UAE to finish fourth in the table, before beating third-place finishers RCB in the eliminator on Tuesday.

KKR then survived a mighty collapse in the second qualifier to beat Delhi on Wednesday.



BBC News