About the Match
The 1st Qualifier of IPL 2014 will take place between Kings XI Punjab, having an unbeatable lead of 20 points and Kolkata Knight Riders taking an unbeatable 2nd place with 18 points by a fantastic win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last league match, on 27th May at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. While Kings XI Punjab almost maintained the No.1 spot in the points table, Kolkata Knight Riders played great battles while registering wins in style in crunch games. With sheer dominance and killing spirit that have been the hallmarks of success for the Kings XI, they taken on the Knight Riders, whose commitment, team spirit and performances peaking at the right time brought them to this stage. In the league stage the two sides faced each other twice, the first encounter won by the Kings XI by 32 runs having set a target of 132 runs, while KKR won the 2nd encounter at Cuttack with 1 ball to spare needing to make 149.
Kings XI Punjab
The team has great performers in a consistent Saha in wicket keeping and batting; David Miller, George Bailey and Glen Maxwell have fired from the moment they were in the middle taking the crowd to frenzy heights by hitting the ball over the rope with 6s and 4s. Sehwag who was gradually picking up his performance, has peaked at the right time; the team either chased 200+ targets successfully or set similar targets which most of the opponents failed to achieve. Their bowling was superb with Sandeep Sharma spearheading the attack and being one of the leading wicket takers in the league stage; M.Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Shivam Sharma and Hendricks being among regular wicket takers. In fielding also the team was quite efficient and backed the efforts of the bowlers, helping the team to defend their efforts. Now, they are facing the Kolkata Knight Riders who have been very competitive and have performed well in spite of stiff opposition many a times.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Taking wins and defeats in the right spirit and learning lessons with every passing match, enabled them to reach this stage.They started like an average team, losing some of the matches due to poor performance by the batsmen; Robin Uthappa is the man of the team who gradually took the opening slot by his dedication and commitment. After a series of failures by other opening pairs, Gautam Gambhir and Utthappa settled down as a reliable and dependable pair to lay a strong foundation consistently. This was a motivating factor for the rest of the players and hence they too contributed to the success of the team. Yusuf Pathan performed occasionally but his efforts of making 72 runs in the last league match against Sunrisers mattered to seal a spot for the team, elevating them with 18 points with better NRR to the second spot ahead of Chennai Super Kings who are also with 18 points. Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav did well with the bat and Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine proved to be good all-rounders; Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar were very effective in their bowling attack. They now face the dominant Knight Riders and will need to bring out the best in all departments of the game.
Being played at home turf, KKR surely has a huge advantage here but we expect the Kings XI Punjab to keep up their performance, live up to the expectations of their fans and win the game.
Kings XI Punjab, 1.80 @ Bet365