© IANS
Mumbai and Chennai will be playing their third IPL final against each other © IANS

There’s always a nice ring to a Mumbai Indians (MI) versus Chennai Super Kings (CSK) match, and when they take the field in the final of  IPL 2015 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, the match will be that much more entertaining. Rishad D’Souza feels this is the best contest a neutral fan can ask for in an IPL final. PREVIEW: MI vs CSK IPL 2015 Final at Kolkata

As the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 draws to a close, one could not have asked for a better clash in the grand finale. Indeed, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) share a rivalry so intense that it is bound to take the entire nation captive in interest. The MI-CSK rivalry is arguably the IPL equivalent of Indo-Pak limited-overs rivalry or the Anglo-Australian Test rivalry (Ashes).

There are numerous explanations as to why the Mumbai and Chennai-based IPL teams are regularly involved in the most mouth-watering contests, but the first that comes to mind is the fans. Both sides have reaped the two-fold rich dividends of maintaining similar teams over seasons, in that not only have they created more stable, united sides but have also garnered and maintained fan loyalty. READ: IPL 2015 Final: Tickets sold out for IPL 8 final

Moreover, both sides have boasted in their ranks two of the countries most iconic cricketers in Sachin Tendulkar (former MI player turned support staff) and MS Dhoni (Team India and CSK skipper). Statistically, Tendulkar happens to be the greatest batsman India ever produced and the same goes with Dhoni when it comes to captaincy. READ: MI vs CSK, IPL 2015 Final: Mustafa Kamal, Haroon Lorgat to attend IPL 8 final

Both sides are known to never hold back their punches and are particularly spectacular when when they come face to face. Take one glance at the head-to-head record sums up this grand rivalry. In the 23 games the teams they have met, MI have won 12 while CSK have taken the remaining 11. Their neck-to-neck battle spills over into the two IPL finals they have played so far, where both teams have triumphed once each.

Hence, when the two sides take centre stage at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on May 24 to culminate another successful edition of IPL, there will be more than just the title at stake. There will be a desire to mark a stamp of authority by upstaging the other to claim an upper hand in the head-to-head record book. Considering the passionate nature of fans on both sides, each team will want to hand their supporters the bragging rights.

The opportunity to witness player-to-player contests, will only add to the thrill. For instance, it will be interesting to see how Dwayne Smith deals with Mitchell McClenaghan’s treacherously tempting deliveries or what approach Suresh Raina adopts to counter in-form Harbhajan Singh’s variations. Rarely does one miss some classic inter-Trinidadian banter when Dwayne Bravo meets Kieron Pollard typically in the crucial death overs. SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings IPL 2015 final

Everything factored in; the clash will arouse interest of the neutral viewer just as much as the supporters of both teams. There is a high possibility that the match will result in another close battle. Ultimately, there will be just a single winner while the other side will have to lick their wounds. However, for the duration of the match, millions will be enthralled by the aura of a MI-CSK clash, for the third time on the grandest stage.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)