Experts pick IPL 2019's possible winner

Last Updated: Sun, May 12, 2019 19:42 hrs
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya

Mumbai: Prior to the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 grand finale between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the second edition of the #SelectDugoutDebate was closely contested on Saturday with predictions on 'Who will win worlds toughest T20 finals? from Star Sports Select Experts.

The presidential style debate saw Dean Jones, Anil Kumble and Brett Lee teaming up against Scott Styris, who was supported by Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson to share their thoughts on which team is better placed to win the cash-rich league in 2019.

Team Deano and Team Scotty faced-off against each other in a banter that highlighted key stats leading up to the game, key player battles to watch out for and more importantly, who has a greater chance to create history by becoming the champions for a record fourth time.

Whilst Team Deano was backing Mumbai Indians to win, Team Scotty countered every point put across by Prof. Deano and team to tell fans why they believe CSK will defend their title.

Mike Hesson, who will be on Star Sports Select Dugout for the final believed CSK's game in the powerplay holds the key to their success.

However, Dean Jones had a different view and said: "No doubt Deepak Chahar has been brilliant this season with his high dot ball percentages and wicket taking abilities in the power plays but CSK have lost all the three power play battles this season against Mumbai Indians. CSK can talk about Chahar, they can talk about Harbhajan Singh but the fact remains that Mumbai Indians have dominated in the power plays when these two teams have met."

While Dean Jones might have stressed on the power plays, his counterpart Scott Styris who has previously won the IPL title with CSK stressed on the impact Mahendra Singh Dhoni can have in the death overs. "We all know how effective MS Dhoni is when he is batting in the death overs. He has scored 215 runs at a strike rate of 164 in the death overs, which is a great number. CSK has won 73% of the games where Mahendra Singh Dhoni has batted in the 18th over or beyond," Styris said.

Anil Kumble from Team Deano while continuing the debate highlighted the key strengths of Mumbai Indians and why he believes MI have an upper hand going into Sunday's grand finale. "It's all about pacers in Hyderabad and we know that the average runs per wicket for pacers is 45.2 for spinners and 27.5 for pacers in Hyderabad. CSK depends very heavily on their spinners," the spin legend said.

Kumble added: "Moving on to talk about what have Mumbai Indian pacers done in the mid overs versus what has Chennai Super Kings pacers done in the middle overs, MI have taken 16 wickets versus 2 wickets that CSK have taken. The lion's share of these wickets has been taken by Hardik Pandya, who has seven wickets in the middle overs this season. With the bat too Hardik has a great strike rate in the middle overs where he has scored successfully against spinners too."

However, former CSK player and Select Dugout expert Brendon McCullum is confident about CSK retaining their title.

"I need an opportunity to talk about CSK and how they set the game up and control the game through the middle overs. CSK average 65 during the middle overs for the loss of just two wickets and they go about that through the methodical run gathering as they just knock the ball around," McCullum said.

"While bowling, the likes of Jadeja and Tahir have worked as a yin and a yang type mentality, where Jadeja is very quick through his overs which allows Tahir to be more attacking, something that is evident with the 22 wickets Tahir has taken through the middle so far, this season," he added.

Ending the debate in a similar smashing manner he has ended many innings with his lethal deliveries,expert Brett Lee said: "I believe Mumbai Indians are going to win the IPL 2019. I will focus firstly on their batting and I believe Hardik Pandya is having his best IPL so far, an absolute cracking season with 386 runs with the bat and three man of the match awards. He has scored the most number of runs (28) from Yorkers this season and has an incredible record of scoring a boundary every 3.2 balls he has faced this season."

Lee also highlighted the importance of Lasith Malinga for Mumbai Indians in the death overs. "A key death over bowler for Mumbai Indians, Lasith Malinga has 15 wickets this season, he brings in an incredible amount of experience to the team having played all the formats of the game and he has brought the most amount of yorkers (24) at the death overs," he added.

The debate saw Team Deano emerging victorious by a single point 29-28 and now all eyes will be on Hyderabad as the battle lines have been drawn and two of the most successful IPL teams so far will look forward to winning their fourth title.

For the final time this season, the experts will be joined by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan at the pre-match show -- Maruti Suzuki Cricket Live from the Star Sports studio at 5.50 p.m. on Sunday, two hours before the summit clash kicks-off.