After 56 matches, the league stage of the IPL has culminated with Chennai Super Kings finishing on top. Second placed Mumbai Indians, after losing their first four games bounced back with a five game winning streak. Royal Challengers Bangalore, aided by rain reached the playoffs courtesy a late flourish from Chris Gayle and Co. Rajasthan Royals, impressive in the initial stages of the league stuttered to the finish after a 9 run win over Kolkata Knight Riders. Chennai now face Mumbai on the 19th of May, with the winner directly going into the final on Sunday. Here are 5 mini-battles which may decide the game :

Ashish Nehra vs Lendl Simmons
The 36 year old Delhi pacer has impressed one and all with his late swings and incoming deliveries in this edition of the league, with 18  wickets to his name. Nehra will look  to stop the calculative Simmons, who has scored 407 runs at an average of 40.70. Mumbai’s innings will be set up by Simmons, who will look to go after the wily Nehra.
Malinga vs Raina
Raina, an ever present in the team since the inaugural edition, is a complete Twenty 20 batsmen who plays his shots at will. He hammered Malinga when these two teams met in the league, with Rohit Sharma taking Malinga off. The Sri Lankan will look to bowl his toe-crushing yorkers to curtail Raina.
Bravo vs Pollard
Though these two might be the best of friends off-field, they will look to thwart each other at the Wankhede, Bravo is this season’s highest wicket-taker with 20 wickets, while Pollard has contributed with both, bat and bowl. His slower ones outfoxed Piyush Chawla and will loom to stop his West Indian team-mate’s dance moves.
Mohit Sharma vs Rayudu
Both are unheralded stars in their teams, often aiding their captains in times of need. Sharma, known for his consistent line and length faces Rayudu, a late bloomer who explodes post the 15th over. Sharma will look to get Rayudu out as he and Pollard inflict maximum damage in the last five overs.
Dhoni vs Rohit Sharma
The man with the Midas touch will look to get one past the Renaissance man in the first qualifier. Sharma has admirably let the MI Paltan, after 4 consecutive losses in the start to a second place finish. Dhoni has a well-oiled team, with all players performing consistently. How they lead their team in crunch moments will decide this game!
Shlomoh Samuel