Chennai Super Kings comprehends the art of winning on big occasions.

Three straight losses in the league after becoming the first team to qualify for the playoffs, CSK ambushed table-topper Delhi Capitals in Qualifier-1 to seal its place in the final.

And big players have a sense of occasion.

MS Dhoni’s delightful match-winning unbeaten cameo that sunk DC would have instilled CSK with immense belief. And CSK will be up against a resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL summit clash at Dubai on Friday.

It should also be a captivating duel between two best captains in the competition, Dhoni and Eoin Morgan. The England captain might be short of runs but is smart on the field.

KKR, turbo-charged after the inclusion of dashing opener Venkatesh Iyer, can dish out intelligent, winning cricket. It has seemed a different unit in the Middle East, with Venkatesh and Shubman Gill firing at the top of the order.

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Lockie Ferguson and Shivam Mavi have delivered thunderbolts and the spinners, the versatile Sunil Narine – he turned games with the bat as well – and the skilful Varun Chakravarthy, battling a knee injury, are tying down the opposition. Star all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan – the injury to the explosive Andre Russell has not hurt the side – and the intrepid Dinesh Karthik and the unsung Rahul Tripathi can swing games.

Multi-dimensional cricketers

The ambience in CSK encourages cricketers to express themselves. Ask Ambati Rayadu, such a dangerous customer with the willow.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, with his footwork, balance, and timing, has been delighted at the top of the order. Ruturaj and Faf du Plessis have formed a formidable opening pair with the South African innovating and creating scoring opportunities.

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It is here Uthappa’s return to form at No. 3 – he is such a sweet timer of the ball – becomes crucial. It provides CSK with a solid base. Then there is Moeen Ali who can scatter the field with his free-spirited left-handed strokeplay apart from sending down useful off-spin.

CSK is not short of multi-dimensional cricketers. Ravindra Jadeja’s tight left-arm spin and a blaze of left-handed strokes make him a game-changer. Dwayne Bravo can give the ball a thump and also send down canny deliveries, including yorkers, with pace variations.

Deepak Chahar’s swing and Josh Hazlewood’s wicket-to-wicket bowling and subtle movement can cause dents.

The final should be a mouth-watering clash.

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