It's a classic confrontation - the most successful team in the history of the competition, against the best team never to have won the title. It ought to have been the major talking point in the lead-up to the final of Pepsi IPL 2013, but events off the field have seized such control of the mind that the title clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday (May 26) has become almost an afterthought.
As if the arrest of three players for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing a little under 10 days back wasn't bad enough, unfolded the unedifying drama of sleaze and corruption and betting, leading to the midnight arrest in Mumbai on Friday of Gurunath Meiyappan, the team principal, CEO and/or owner of Chennai Super Kings who isn't, we are now officially told, any of these.
It is impossible for the Chennai team, riding the crest of a wave until a few days back when they sealed their berth in the final in the most emphatic manner possible, not to remain unaffected by these developments. On the face of it, the team is putting on a brave front, but there is no doubting that several key players have been deeply shaken by the events of the last couple of days, and are struggling not to be caught up in a web of disillusionment. Game of numbers