It's finally here, the 2021 IPL Final. It's a game that stops a nation, and this year will be no exception as the Chennai Super Kings take on the Kolkata Knight Riders. The two franchises know what it takes to win a game of this magnitude, as the Super Kings have won the tournament on three separate occasions while the Knight Riders have won the IPL twice. It's a match-up that on paper, and current form, is incredibly hard to call, with the oddsmakers struggling to decide a favourite. Both teams are currently 1.90 to lift the trophy on Friday evening.
Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders Final IPL 2021
Team News for CSK
Chennai Super Kings head into this match well-rested in comparison to their opponents, who have played twice since CSK last took the field. By virtue of winning a classic in the first Qualifier, CSK have been able to sit back and relax while others have toiled. The exploits of MS Dhoni earned them the opportunity to progress straight through to the final.
Chasing a tough total of 172 – entering the final two overs, CSK needed 28 runs to win. Enter Dhoni. Off just six deliveries, the Indian icon managed to hit three fours and a six to guide CSK to the total with just two balls to spare.
Dhoni showed in the first Qualifier that he is still one of the best finishers in all T20 cricket, and he is bound to play an important role in the final. Priced at 1.70 to score over 25.5 runs, this could be a good play if CSK are required to rely on their captain's runs once again.
Another batsman in fine form for CSK is Ruturaj Gaikwad. Gaikwad finished second in the Orange Cap rankings after scoring 603 runs in the group stage, averaging just over 46.
Gaikwad showed no signs of nerves in the first Qualifier and carried on from where he had left off with a 70 off 50 balls. Priced at 3.50 to be CSK's top run-scorer in the match, you would be backing a man clearly in form, which is a great way to play in a match of this magnitude.
Likely playing 11 of CSK
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni (C/WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Dwayne Bravo, Josh Hazlewood
Team News for KKR
Talk about a roller coaster ride! The Kolkata Knight Riders seemed to be perfectly positioned to ease into this year's final before the wheels spectacularly came off in the second Qualifier against the Delhi Capitals.
Restricting the Capitals to a modest total of 135, heading into the final four overs, KKR were well ahead of the required run rate and had plenty of wickets in hand. However, panic and nerves quickly set in as KKR went on to lose six wickets for just seven runs. KKR all of a sudden needed to score six of the final two balls to secure a passage to the final.
Narrowly avoiding what would have been one of the most heartbreaking of losses, Rahul Tripathi hoiked an ugly six just over the boundary ropes to secure the victory and, with it, a place in Friday's final.
It was the loss of KKR's openers that put them in a tough spot as both Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer batted beautifully to put KKR in a great position. Gill has been one of the stars of this year's tournament and finished 9th in the Orange Cap rankings. Clearly in fine form, Gill scored a measured 46 off 46 balls and looked very comfortable at the crease. Priced at 4.00 to be his team's top scorer, this could be a great betting angle for the final.
Likely playing 11 of KKR
Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Pitch and Weather Conditions
The match is due to be held at the Dubai International Stadium. The second phase of the IPL has been challenging for the batters, and scoring has been low across the board.
However, Dubai has been different and has been the only venue in the second phase where the ball has come onto the bat consistently. This is indicated by both teams scoring in the 170s in the first Qualifier between the Capitals and Super Kings, which was held at this same venue.
Coming into the final, there have been 45 IPL matches played in Dubai, where 22 have been won by the team batting first and 23 by the chasing side. Chennai might have the advantage as they have recent experience of the conditions, having chased down a total in their last match.
Finals are where the world's best look to prove their skills. A hundred to be scored is priced at a massive 11.00, and a small play on that could be a good bet with all of the players looking to write their way into IPL folklore.
Betting Predictions for CSK vs KKR
Now let's take a look at a few important betting predictions for Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders Final IPL 2021:
Match Result Prediction
As most IPL finals have been previously, this is a really tricky match to call, and there isn't a surprise that the sides can't be split as both sides can be backed at 1.90.
Coming into the match, there are question marks over both sides. CSK headed into their Qualifier on a poor run of form but managed to get the job done against the Capitals. Would the extra break have stalled any momentum they would have picked up in that vital Qualifier victory?
KKR have peaked just at the right time, inconsistencies plagued them during the group stage, but since needing to win all their matches to secure the fourth and final playoff berth, Eoin Morgan's men have been flying with four straight wins. Will KKR continue their momentum, or will the heavy toll of matches (this will be their fourth match in just over a week) catch up with them?
Something has to give in this final; KKR have never lost in an IPL final, whereas CSK dominate the recent head-to-head between the sides, winning five of the last six, which includes the last three.
We think CSK's extra rest and recent victory on the Dubai pitch give them a slight advantage in this coin flip of a match. CSK should be able to handle the conditions better, and with a wealth of experience on their side, we are backing them to come out on top in what is sure to be a thrilling contest.
Match Winner: CSK (1.90)
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Either team to win the toss can be backed at 1.91. On a pitch that should offer something to both batsmen and bowlers, there isn't really a significant advantage to batting first or second. But since this is a final, teams would prefer to do the chasing. So look for the team that wins the toss to bat second. Chennai have recent experience of chasing down a competitive total on this pitch, so anything shy of 170 would give them an edge.
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Top Batsman for CSK
At the top of the preview, we have already provided odds for Ruturaj Gaikwad to be his side's top-scoring batsman, but there is another player who has played really well this season, and that's been Faf Du Plessis. In the race for the Orange Cap, Du Plessis just finished behind his teammate Gaikwad in 4th place, scoring a total of 547 runs.
With his vast experience of leading South Africa in white-ball formats, Du Plessis should be able to handle the pressure of the big occasion. We think the stage could be set perfectly for the explosive South African to play a key role in this final, and at odds of 3.4o to be CSK's top run-scorer, it could be one of the bets of the final.
Faf Du Plessis to be Chennai Super Kings top-scoring batsman (3.40)
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