About the Match
It will be a repetition of the 1st Qualifier for the final action at Bangalore on June 1st as the invincible Kolkata Knight Riders take on the mighty Kings XI Punjab at last! Fighting it out against Chennai Super Kings, Punjab strategized well to restrict Dhoni and his men from reaching the target. They deserve to be here, leading the table right till the end but having to fight it out for a spot in the final; will the Knight Riders repeat their performance in the 1st Qualifier or will the Kings XI change the result to prove that they have the right to be the champions. Will the commitment, team spirit and peaking of Knight Riders at the right time prevail over the dominant and killing spirit of the Kings XI Punjab; this million dollar question can only be answered on Sunday, when the two sides face off for the trophy.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Self belief and a can-do approach have helped the Knight Riders to come to this stage by focusing on their game, never losing confidence. The defeat against RR, after 121 for no loss to 123 for 6 was the turning point which helped them understand the realities of the game and unearth the winning methods. Utthappa has been the go-to man of the team throughout the tournament, gradually climbing up the ladder in the batting line up and occupying the opening slot because of the need of the hour and sealing the slot, never looked back, making the wins possible. Gambhir, though not consistent in the slot, fitted the bill to give company to Utthappa, leading from the front to win crucial games. The top and middle have learnt to stay in the middle and build partnerships when it matters; Yusuf Pathan started delivering at the right time and they have the ever reliable and dependable Shakib and Narine who have played like genuine all-rounders. Manish, Vinay, Umesh Yadav and Suryakumar have all delivered for the success and the team has emerged as a formidable force to reckon with.
Kings XI Punjab
Can they repeat their dominating and killing methods displayed against CSK that helped them reach the final, now against the determined Knight Riders? Sehwag’s 122 with 12 fours and 8 sixes off 58 balls won the 2nd Qualifier against CSK and the run-out of Raina who made 87 of 25 balls hitting 12 fours and 6 sixes closed the door for the challenging Chennai Super Kings. The 110-run partnership of opening pair of Sehwag and Vohra laid the foundation for the win; Maxwell, who won all the matches in the league stage when Sehwag was miserably failing, saw the reverse happening when it mattered but now that they are in the finals, their confidence would definitely be boosted. Saha, Miller and Bailey are the backbones, who can hold their end and progress steadily towards the target; it was the tight bowling by Akshar Patel in the 2nd qualifier that contributed majorly in their win against CSK, who have a strong line-up of hard-hitters. Punjab is the only team that repeatedly scored 200+ and has the ability to tackle the Knight Riders but the opponent is no less as they also have developed the required armory for each player.
Confidence vs dominance, which one will prevail? While Punjab has weathered difficult conditions to perform consistently and reach here, we expect KKR to keep up their performance and win the game.
Kolkata Knight Riders, 2.10 @ Bet365