The regular season went right down to the wire with playoff places remaining undecided right until the end. In the final match, Mumbai Indians eased past the Kolkata Knight Riders to claim top spot and they go through to Tuesday’s first qualifier.
Mumbai now face the Chennai Super Kings who finished in second place while Wednesday’s eliminator sees the Delhi Capitals take on SunRisers Hyderabad. But, who will emerge triumphant in Sunday’s final?
Early Passage Awaits
The winner of Tuesday’s qualifier between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will enjoy a nice rest and a straight passage into the final. The teams were locked on 18 points at the end of those groups, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the sportsbooks can’t decide on a winner this time around.
Sportsbooks have the Super Kings down at -111 for the win while you can get that same -111 on victory for Mumbai Indians. It could well be as close as the market suggests so how can we split these teams? The group stages show a preference for Chennai based on home advantage. MS Dhoni’s men won six of their seven matches at the Chepauk but the only team to win here were the Mumbai Indians.
The key contest is between CSK’s spin attack and Mumbai’s top order. Imran Tahir has a chance to claim the Purple Cap as the tournament’s leading wicket taker and he has good support from Harbhajan Singh and Ravi Jadeja. It’s tight but we expect Tahir and company to weave their magic and take the Super Kings through to yet another IPL final.
The losing side in Wednesday’s eliminator will bid farewell to IPL 12 while the winner progresses to the second and final qualifier. We have the Delhi Capitals up against SunRisers Hyderabad, and with Delhi enjoying a six point advantage over their opponents in the groups, the sportsbooks have picked a clear winner.
The Capitals go into this contest as clear favorites at -125 while SunRisers Hyderabad are out at +100 at the sportsbooks. Strangely enough, this match is all about the absentees with key figures on both sides returning home ahead of the 2019 World Cup. SRH are without David Warner and Jonny Bairstow while Delhi are without the tournament’s leading wicket taker Kagiso Rabada.
That’s a blow for both teams but Sunrisers have struggled the most since their key batters left the squad. Delhi Capitals are more impressive in the batting department and while the bowling attack is weaker in Rabada’s absence, we expect those batters to take Delhi home.
If our predictions are correct, Chennai Super Kings will progress straight to Sunday’s final while Mumbai will face Delhi in Friday’s second qualifier.
Clearly there are no odds for theoretical games but this does all point to a Chennai vs. Mumbai final. With three IPL titles apiece, they are the most successful teams in the history of the competition but who will claim their fourth trophy? Once again, this is a hypothetical game at present but, while CSK’s form dipped at the end of the groups, this is a resilient side who seem to raise their game when it’s needed most and we suspect the men in yellow will ultimately emerge triumphant.
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