It is indeed the festive season in India. Not only are people observing Dussehra on Friday, October 15, 2021, but they are also looking forward to the final of the cricketing festival, the Indian T20 League. 59 matches later, it is down to two teams – Chennai and Kolkata. While the Men in Yellow have made it a habit of playing the finals, Kolkata registered wins on both the occasions they played the titular clash. With very little to choose between the sides, here is an attempt to find out who might have a slight edge heading into the much-anticipated final based on the following factors:
1. Head-to-head record
The overall head-to-head record is tilted in favour of the MS Dhoni-led side. The two teams have played against each other on 24 previous occasions, with Chennai emerging as the winner in 16 matches. Kolkata has tasted victory in the other 8 games. However, in the teams’ previous meet at the final in 2012, it was Kolkata who had emerged victorious.
2. UAE factor
The UAE factor which is the one on one record in these conditions- also suggests that Chennai might have a slight advantage. The two teams have come across thrice in the Middle Eastern country which Chennai winning 2 in contrast to Kolkata’s 1. When it comes to the Dubai International Stadium, where the match will be played on Friday, Chennai have won 8 of their 13 matches here while Kolkata have bitter-sweet memories of this ground having won 3 and lost 3 out of their six fixtures.
3. Form of the players
While both the teams in form would suggest that the team is doing well as a unit, there are a few issues of concern, especially with Kolkata. The form of Eoin Morgan is the biggest reason to worry and while they somehow managed to break jail in the final over in Qualifier 2, his poor form could have even cost them the match. Their bowlers and top-order batters have been superb and would need more consistency from their middle-order batters.
For Chennai, even captain MS Dhoni got into some kind of a rhythm and rolled back the years in vintage style finishing Qualifier 1 for his team with an unbeaten 6-ball 18. The top-order has been simply outstanding and Robin Uthappa also got himself a match-winning half-century ahead of the final. Only Moeen Ali hasn’t played a stand-out knock in the UAE leg but with Chennai, one gets the feeling that one knock is never far away and it may come even at the grandest stage of all.
Based on a close reading of the above-mentioned factors, the team of the day is Chennai.