After 59 matches over the course of last 2 months, the stage is set for the final of eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as two-time champions Chennai Super Kings prepare to take on 2016 winners Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. The CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 Final will once again see the top two teams from group stages going up against each other and can therefore be termed as a fitting finale. The SRH vs CSK IPL 2018 match can also be seen as an opportunity by Kane Williamson’s to record their first win of the season against Chennai after 3 failed attempts.
What makes the Chennai vs Hyderabad final all the more special is the fact that these two sides are being led by MS Dhoni and Kane Williamson – two men who came into the tournament as lesser fancied T20 players but have led their respective teams with aplomb.
Here, we sketch out the best Combined XI for Hyderabad vs Chennai IPL 2018 final.
CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 Combined XI
Shane Watson, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shakib Al Hasan, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Deepak Chahar, Rashid Khan, Shardul Thakur, Siddarth Kaul
1. Shane Watson
Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is a veteran of the T20 game and has well and truly shown his worth for CSK this season. Having scored 438 runs and taken 6 wickets in IPL 2018, Watson has been a key cog in Chennai’s winning machine. After a dismal run for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, the burly all-rounder has been a success in the current campaign and enhanced his legacy as one of the best players to have ever graced the tournament over the last decade. With his explosiveness at the top and ability to pick up crucial wickets, Watson is an absolute must pick in this CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 Final Combined XI.
2. Shikhar Dhawan
The Indian left-hander has been in an ominous run of form ever since IPL 2017 where he was the third highest run scorer with 479 runs to his name. Since then, Dhawan has been India’s premium batsman in limited overs cricket and has carried his pre-tournament form into IPL 2018 as well. After starting the tournament with a bang, Dhawan wenr missing for a while before rediscovering his touch at the most opportune of times. The 32-year-old southpaw has the ability to dismantle any bowling lineup on his day and deservedly finds a place in our SRH vs CSK IPL 2018 combined XI. Other than his big-hitting skills, Dhawan also knows how to play the sheet anchor role to perfection and would be a sound choice to open the innings with Shane Watson in this team.
3. Suresh Raina
Arguably the greatest player in the decade-long history of this tournament, it is for a reason that Suresh Raina is often referred to as ‘Mr. IPL’. Despite not being at his imperious best, the veteran left-hander has still amassed 413 runs in IPL 2018 at an average of 37.54. With an exceptional record in playoff fixtures, skipper MS Dhoni will banking on his star batsman to come to the party in the Chennai vs Hyderabad final and lead his side to IPL glory. Add to that his brilliance in the field and Raina is a no-brainer when it comes to picking out this CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 Combined XI.
4. Kane Williamson
Quite a few eyebrows were raised when Sunrisers management announced their decision of appointing Kane Williamson as their captain in place of the suspended David Warner. What has transpired since then has been a treat to watch as he soft-spoken Kiwi superstar has emerged as the season’s leading run-getter with 688 runs at an astonishing average of 53 and a strike rate of 143.33. Williamson has also been brilliant as a leader and has marshalled his troops superbly while defending particularly low totals against strong batting units. His consistency has been second to none and the 27-year-old walks into this Hyderabad vs Chennai Combined XI lineup.
5. Ambati Rayudu
Yet another player who has surprised everyone with his batting this season is Ambati Rayudu and he can certainly be termed as the secret superstar of IPL 2018. Having been a consistent performer for Mumbai Indians in the past, Rayudu has shown great adaptability while playing for his new franchise this season and has excelled as an opener. CSK’s decision to repose their faith in an underrated player like Rayudu has paid rich dividends as he he has scored 586 runs in the ongoing campaign, most by an Super Kings batsman. Rayudu will once again be key to his side’s title hopes in the SRH vs CSK IPL 2018 final.
6. MS Dhoni (c & wk)
Yet another automatic selection on this Hyderabad vs Chennai combined XI list, MS Dhoni walks into this side as captain and wicket-keeper. Despite waning finishing skills, the legend of Dhoni has only grown with every outing in the tournament this year. A creative magician who can turn around a game from any situation, Dhoni has reinstated the winning mentality in the CSK dugout and has successfully scripted a resurgence story for himself as well. The legendary finisher has well and truly silenced his critics and detractors through some blitzkrieg knocks for Chennai Super Kings in this year’s edition.
7. Shakib Al Hasan
The greatest ever player to come out of Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan continues to dominate the ICC T20 all-rounders rankings as he has constantly raised the bar with sublime performances in the shortest format of the game. While world class all-rounders like Shakib are hard to find and are always available at a premium, it was highly surprising that SRH managed to bag him without much fight for INR 2 crore at the players auction in January. The results have been visible as the Bangladesh skipper has contributed with both bat and ball for SRH this year as he has scored 216 runs and picked up 14 wickets in the process. Shakib edges out Dwayne Bravo for a place in this CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 final Combined XI.
8. Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar gets the nod ahead of the wily Bhuvneshwar Kumar in this Chennai vs Hyderabad Combined XI. While there has hardly been anything exceptional about Chahar’s figures, as shown by his tally of 10 wickets in 11 matches, but he has certainly played a decisive role in CSK’s journey to the finals. The Rajasthan seamer has the ability to swing the new ball and has become Dhoni’s go-to guy in the powerplays. All his wickets have come while bowling with a brand new cherry in the first six overs and Chahar has truly been a revelation this season. Credit must also go to skipper Dhoni for utilizing his skills very well and Chahar certainly deserves a place in this Chennai vs Hyderabad Combined XI for the big final.
9. Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan – Enough said! Such has been the mastery of this wonderful leg-spinner from Afghanistan that it is almost impossible to remember that he us still only 19 years of age and has the best years of his career ahead of him. Rashid was solely responsible for derailing Kolkata Knight Riders’ winning run and ultimately knocking them out of the tournament in Eliminator 2, as he hit a 10-ball 34 in the game and then backed it up with magical figures of 3/19. Another special feature of this teenage wizard’s bowling is that he is a master of picking up key wickets, as illustrated by his dismissals of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn. With 21 wickets so far, Rashid is the tournament’s joint second highest wicket-taker and walks into this SRH vs CSK IPL 2018 Combined XI.
10. Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur has been the leading wicket-taker for the Chennai Super Kings in the tournament as he has pocketed 15 wickets in the 12 matches that he has played in the season. He has been guilty of leaking a lot of runs but his wicket-taking abilities more than just compensates for the same. The 26-year-old also played a game-changing cameo in Qualifier 1 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad when his three boundaries. He will be hoping to cap off a good season with an impressive show in the CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 final and beats off competition from the likes of Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi for this spot in our Hyderabad vs Chennai Combined XI.
11. Siddarth Kaul
While he was identified as a weak link in Sunrisers’ bowling attack ahead of the tournament, Siddarth Kaul has risen like a phoenix and has arguably been the most impressive fast bowler in IPL 2018. With spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar struglling with injuries and form, Kaul has beautifully risen up to the challenge and emerged as a go-to man for captain Williamson. Having scalped 21 wickets in 16 matches this season, Kaul is the joint second highest wicket-taker in the tournament and deserves to walk into our CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 Combined XI for the big final.