IPL final: MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings face Eoin Morgan's Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai showdown
Watch the final live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 3pm on Friday or follow our live blog on Sky Sports digital platforms as Chennai bid to become four-time champions and Kolkata aim to make it three victories in as many final appearances
Last Updated: 15/10/21 1:04pm
Legendary captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Eoin Morgan will go head to head in Friday's IPL Final, live on Sky Sports, possibly for the last time.
Dhoni, 40, has hinted that the showpiece occasion could be the last match of his playing career and guiding Chennai Super Kings skipper to a fourth IPL title might just be the perfect way to bow out.
His side are up against Morgan's Kolkata Knight Riders, who have qualified for their first IPL final in seven years but who have a perfect final record having won their two previous title shots - in 2012 (against Chennai) and 2014.
You can watch every ball live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm on Friday, with the action also on air on Sky Sports Main Event from 3pm, or follow over-by-over commentary on our live blog on our digital platforms.
2021 Head to head
Chennai are on a commanding run against Kolkata, having won both of this year's meetings to extend their winning sequence to five victories in the last six encounters.
Way back in April, CSK registered an 18-run win after rattling up 220-3 off their 20 overs after an opening stand of 115 between Faf du Plessis (95no off 60 balls) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (64 off 42). Moeen Ali and Dhoni weighed in with cameos before Deepak Chahar (4-29) helped reduce Kolkata to 31-5 before explosive knocks from Dinesh Karthik (40), Andre Russell (54) and Pat Cummins (66no off 34) all but turned the tide.
The follow-up clash in September was spectacular for different reasons as Ravindra Jadeja saw Chennai to a two-wicket win off the final ball of the match. Set 172 to win, CSK needed 24 runs off the last 10 balls and Jadeja delivered in the nick of time by smashing 22 off eight balls before falling to the penultimate ball of the match, leaving Chahar to scuttle through for the winning single. Once again CSK's openers played a pivotal role with Du Plessis (43 off 30) and Gaikwad (40 off 28) setting the platform, and Moeen Ali (32) solidifying the chase.
They are men for the big occasion. Both Dhoni and Morgan have suffered a run-famine in the tournament - their leadership having more of an impact than their respective bats. So the stats make for grim reading and aren't for dwelling on. Dhoni is averaging 16.28 from 11 knocks with a best of 18no (but what a crucial knock it was in Qualifier 1 as he tucked into Tom Curran to earn CSK a last-over win against Delhi). Morgan's average is even lower at 11.72 with 47 of his 129 tournament runs coming back in April, when Kolkata eased to a five-wicket win over Punjab Kings.
The Star Men
So who has lit up the scorecards? Kolkata's batting line-up is packed with virtuosos with Shubman Gill (427 runs), Rahul Tripathi (395), Nitish Rana (383) and Venkatesh Iyer (320 in nine knocks at 40) - so impressive in Qualifier 2 - all staking claims for MVP batter. And in Varun Chakravarthy (18 wickets) and Sunil Narine (14) they have a spin combo capable of drying up most threats.
Chennai's Shardul Thakur is level with Chakravarthy in joint-fifth in the Purple Cap standings (a huge distance behind Harshal Patel's haul of 32) but CSK could have the Orange Cap winner in their ranks at the end of the tournament with du Plessis (547 runs) and Gaikwad (603) both in the top four of the standings.
View from the Camps
Kolkata Knight Riders chief mentor David Hussey: "In terms of the grand final and our record that we have in it, it's a great record to go into a grand final and you do take a bit of confidence from that. But playing against the Chennai Super Kings, who have barely missed the finals in the history of the IPL. So yeah, it's going to be a great contest. They're very well coached, the Chennai Super Kings. And yeah, I know all the boys cannot wait to get to Dubai and play on Friday night."
MS Dhoni, on www.chennaisuperkings.com: "It was the first time we didn't qualify last year and emotions were high. But whatever games we had towards the end of last year, we made the most of it. A lot of batters made the most of that. That's the reason we have come back strongly. But credit goes to the support staff and everyone in the team. Without that character, we couldn't have come back like this."
Watch the final live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 3pm on Friday or follow our live blog on Sky Sports digital platforms.