Following a slight stutter at the end of the league stage and then the Qualifier 1 defeat, Sunrisers Hyderabad roared back in form against KKR in the Eliminator 2 to book their place in IPL 2018 Final against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai tonight. CSK will enter the Final full confidence given their recent form and the fact that they have beaten SRH thrice already this season including once in Mumbai. This will CSK’s 7th Final in 9 seasons they have participated, however, they have won only 2 Finals, a ratio they will be looking to better tonight with a win. It is a testament to the tournament’s format and the structure that top two team’s from the league stage and probably the strongest are facing off in the Final.
Both CSK and SRH have relied heavily on team performance rather than individual brilliance to reach this stage. However, you can’t ignore the performances some of these players, who have just been brilliant throughout all season, in this article, we take a look at 5 players who you should watch out for in tonight’s IPL 2018 Final.
MS Dhoni IPL 2018 (Chennai Super Kings)
Former Indian captain MS Dhoni will be competing in his 7th IPL Final today and one he will be hoping to win following a disappointing defeat in last year’s Final with RPS. Having scored 455 runs in 15 matches, Dhoni has hit a purple patch just at the right time and this season we have seen him back to his best finishing matches for his team in style. His captaincy and wicket-keeping has been spot on just like we have come to expect from him but there is no doubt Final will pose its own challenges but knowing Dhoni, he would have already planned out his moves well in advance. He will be a key figure for the team, not only as a leader but even as a player.
Rashid Khan IPL 2018 (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Undoubtedly the player of the season for SRH, i produced a world-class performance in Eliminator 2 to single-handedly take his team over the line against KKR. CSK would have already been worried regarding his bowling but after his smashing 34 run innings in the previous match, the threat of the young Afghanistani spinner has just grown even bigger. In order to lift the Indian Premier League trophy tonight, SRH will need a big hand from Rashid Khan, as without his contribution, the task will just get extremely tough for SRH. There was a slight blip in his form in mid-April, but the youngster has responded to that blip superbly and is currently the number 1 bowler in the world in this format according to the legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Kane Williamson IPL 2018 (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Many feared for Kane Williamson when he was handed over the captaincy suddenly following the ban on David Warner but to the surprise of many, the Kiwi international has not let the Australian’s absence affect the team’s performance one bit and one big reason for that has been his own individual form. The 27-year-old is the highest run-scorer in the tournament and has smashed 8 half-centuries this season, and pulled his team out of holes on numerous occasions. Apart from his batting, Williamson has also led the team brilliantly and will most likely continue as the captain even with Warner returning next season. A lot will depend on how he leads his troops tonight against a CSK side which is full of experienced players who are previous season winners.
Ambati Rayudu IPL 2018 (Chennai Super Kings)
Ambati Rayudu has been in stellar form this season and is the highest run-scorer for CSK in IPL 2018, unfortunately, he has got out very cheaply in the last two matches, which means that he is definitely due one big one and there couldn’t be a better to score runs than in the Final. He came in at number 3 in the last match but was dismissed for a golden duck thanks to a peach of a delivery by Siddarth Kaul. His plan should be settled in first and then go after the bowling as he has done all season. Following 8 seasons with MI, Rayudu came into the CSK franchise with huge amount experience and luckily for the franchise, he has been able to use that valuable experience while playing numerous match-winning knocks for his team. It would be a perfect end to an amazing season if he can manage to drive CSK to the IPL Title tonight. His performance this season hasn’t gone unnoticed, as the national selectors picked him for the upcoming ODI and T20I series in Ireland and England.
Shikhar Dhawan IPL 2018 (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
While Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling has been superb this season, their batting has failed to live up the expectations, which is why there will be enormous pressure on the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson to get the runs. The left-handed opener has struggled a bit this season but is still a key figure in the SRH franchise. He will be hoping that he gives his side a solid start tonight, unlike the previous few matches where he has departed fairly quickly. He has been in brilliant form in the international arena for past few months and is a very key batsman for SRH. If he can manage to get a big score, SRH will definitely have an upper hand especially with the lethal bowling attack they possess.
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