Today's final represents the fifth time that top two seeds are meeting in the IPL final. The Mumbai Indians (1) are facing off against Rising Pune Supergiant (2)
But this is the first time that one team has won every previous encounter as Pune did this season. Does this mean anything? Do Pune match up particularly well against Mumbai over and above what you might expect based on their overall performances this season?
My default position is no. There is a 12.5% chance that one team might win three evenly matched contests in a row and it is perfectly reasonable to think that this is what has happened
There seem to be plenty of people who disagree. In a poll on ESPN, 56% of people believe that Rising Pune Supergiant will win the IPL title, contrary to what most objective measures suggest
Mumbai won the most games in the league stage and they have the best net run rate. Also, Pune are without one of their best players, Ben Stokes, who may not be worth £1.7m but he is still one of the best players in the IPL. Moreover, he delivered a Player of the Match performance against Mumbai earlier in the season
This would all suggest that Mumbai, not Pune, should be the favourites to win the title and betting websites agree: Betfair markets currently give them a 57% edge. So why do 55% of Cricinfo readers think that it will be the Rising Pune Supergiant?
My suspicion, especially given that this poll was framed by an article titled "Mumbai face the Pune jinx in final", is that many people are influenced by the three previous encounters this season