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How Chennai Super Kings can change history

MS Dhoni warms up ahead of the toss BCCI

Here we go again.

Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings in an IPL final.

If that feels familiar, it's because they've already been here three times, and long story short, the Wankhede stadium had to make room for two extra trophies.

Mumbai are clearly Super Kings' bogey team, so much that they got on the nerves of the usually uber-cool Stephen Fleming. After watching his team being rolled over for 109 last month - their lowest total at Chepauk, the head coach arrived late to the press conference and his frustrated look suggested it was because he'd been busy giving the players a dressing down during one of those rare CSK team meetings.

Mumbai beat them again in the first qualifier and they had to take the Visakhapatnam detour to earn another crack at Rohit Sharma's men.

But now that they're here, what can they do to change history?

Whatever it takes...

Go hard at the top or bump up Dhoni

Super Kings will be enthused by fifties from Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson in the second qualifier against Delhi Capitals. But, despite that, they are still the slowest scoring team in the Powerplay in IPL 2019, going at only 6.29 runs an over in this phase while also losing the most wickets (29).

ALSO READ: Big match, high stakes? Better call Faf .

Mumbai usually reserve their gun bowler Jasprit Bumrah for MS Dhoni in the end overs, considering the quick's exceptional head-to-head record against the Super Kings captain - three wickets for 47 runs in 46 balls in the IPL.

In the first qualifier at Chepauk, Super Kings dawdled to 32 for 3 in the Powerplay and banked on Dhoni to tee off in the slog, and although he launched Lasith Malinga for back-to-back sixes, Bumrah muzzled Dhoni, again, with his assortment of yorkers and slower variations.

So, perhaps, there is a case for Watson and du Plessis to ditch their go-slow at the top approach in the Powerplay. Alternatively, Dhoni could promote himself up the order and look to take down Mumbai's other bowling options rather than being cornered by Bumrah at the death. How about some more chaos theories?

An attack-first approach. Whatever it takes...

Unleash spin on Rohit and de Kock

Of the five times Quinton de Kock and Rohit have both gone unscathed in the Powerplay in IPL 2019, Mumbai have won four times this season. When one of them falls inside the Powerplay, which has happened nine times, Mumbai have lost four matches.

Both the Mumbai openers prefer pace on the ball. The Hyderabad track tends to assist the seamers, but Super Kings could go against the grain and bowl spin from both ends with the new ball. Rohit and de Kock have been dismissed by spin six times each and glaringly the South African's strike-rate drops to 97.22 against spin as opposed to 151.9 against pace. Rohit, meanwhile, has struck at 123.7 against spin as opposed to 132.4 against pace. Suryakumar Yadav, Mumbai's previous match-winner, too, has had a hard time against spin, particularly legspin, having been dismissed six times while managing 130 off 102 balls against this variety. Over to you Imran Tahir (or Karn Sharma).

Spin to win. Whatever it takes...

Who will be Dhoni's bike?

In the first qualifier on a dry, gripping Chepauk pitch, Mumbai swapped Mitchell McClenaghan for an offspinner in Jayant Yadav, and he did his job by getting rid of the left-handed Suresh Raina.

In the second qualifier against Capitals, Dhoni left out M Vijay for a sixth-bowling option in Shardul Thakur. You all know Dhoni doesn't like to ride all his bikes at the same time. Shardul ended up bowling just one over on Friday and doesn't offer enough batting insurance in the lower order. Could Karn Sharma be Dhoni's bike in this IPL final, like he was last season?

Dhoni picked Karn ahead of Harbhajan, despite the presence of three left-handers in Sunrisers' top five, and the legspinner took the prized scalp of Kane Williamson while conceding 25 in this three overs.

Karn has a reputation of stepping up in big games. In 2017 as well, he had replaced Harbhajan in a knockout, this time for Mumbai, and put them in the final. He is also a handy lower-order batsman who strikes at nearly 125 in T20s. Mumbai will have their match-ups ready, but Dhoni needs to find his bike and take it out for a spin. Whatever it takes...

Hold on to the catches

Super Kings will play their second knockout game in three days - not to mention the travel in between that will have taken a toll on already slow-moving legs. On the other hand, Mumbai have enjoyed a four-day break and Rohit even found time to visit the Tirupati temple.

Super Kings' slow-moving legs were in the spotlight, again, in the first qualifier when M Vijay dropped Suryakumar on 11 and Watson dropped Ishan Kishan on 2. They then put on a merry old 80-run partnership that powered Mumbai into the final.

Since Dhoni prefers having du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja in the outfield to take those pressure catches, the less athletic men often find themselves inside the 30-yard circle and history will remind them to be more vigilant.

In the 2008 IPL final, Raina dropped Yusuf Pathan on 13, and the batsman proceeded to slam an unbeaten 59 to seal the title for Rajasthan Royals.

Just hold on to the catches. Whatever it takes…

With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman