After fifty-six group games played across the length and breadth of India, IPL 2019 has reached its crescendo. Two of the most dominant, consistent and successful franchises Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians take on each other in the finals, the fourth time for both teams.
It has been a tournament of contrasting fortunes for both sides. MI has comfortably moved into the finals with a confident display in the league stages and also a thumping display in Qualifier 1 against CSK at Chepauk Stadium.
CSK on the other hand have had a mixed campaign with their skipper MS Dhoni and Imran Tahir being the star performers and an occasional burst of brilliance from Faf Du Plessis or Shane Watson easing things for the three time champions.
Two teams with the most ardent, loyal fan base in the history of IPL will face off in the biggest game of the tournament. Its only fitting that these two teams fight for the title at Hyderabad tonight.
Here's looking at the moments we are looking forward to the most from the finals.
#1 Can CSK disrupt MI's fantastic record against them?
CSK have lost all their outings against MI this season. MI have outplayed and outclassed MSD and his men. The likes of Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya have had the edge over spinners like Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja when they have faced off against each other.
MI have all the stats going in their favor. They have a 16-11 head to head record and it comes to 2-1 in finals. MI would want to make it 3-1 when they clash tonight.
CSK have won 12 out of 16 tosses this season, and it's that luck factor which Dhoni would want to capitalize on with results not going in their favor against MI. His form has been fantastic and he knows a thing or two about winning tournaments, so CSK would hope their skipper fires on all cylinders.
#2 Imran Tahir's four overs will be the key for CSK
The forty-year-old youngster Imran Tahir has been a revelation this year. His energy, the precision and control he brings to the table for CSK has been magnificent to watch. He comes into the bowling attack at crucial junctures and often strikes and puts the breaks on the scoring. A gift to have for any team, he is a sure match-winner for any side.
His biggest strength is he understands what is expected from him and delivers almost every time. He has bagged 24 wickets at an amazing economy rate of 6.61 this season. His ability to get important wickets at important times is his biggest strength.
And more than his spell, everybody would be eagerly looking forward to the famous celebration! Can we get to see one or more of his trademark celebrations? If that happens, certainly the advantage would shift firmly in favor of CSK.
#3 Hardik Pandya at his destructive best
This season has seen the transformation and revolution of Hardik Pandya, the batsman. He has been in some hitting form. He is second only to Andre Russell in that regard. The consistency of his hitting has been one of the main reasons for MI's success.
His ability to pile on runs from the word go and hit sixes at will has been really refreshing to see from a World Cup and IPL point of view. His bowling has been little underwhelming but he can put the breaks on CSK in the finals.
He has accumulated 386 runs at a strike-rate of 193 this year. The highlight has been the way he has assessed the game situation and gone about his batting. MI and their fans would hope he pulls out something special tonight in such a high pressure match-up.