King`s XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders - Indian Premier League Cricket Final Preview

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Published: 01/06/2014

Despite an incredible innings from Suresh Raina, King’s XI Punjab’s formidable total in the IPL semi-finals was good enough to book them a place in the grand final. But they will be very much second favourites to beat a Kolkata Knight Riders side who have arguably the best balanced team in the competition.

Having said that, a lot of the Kolkata Knight Riders’ batting has been done by one man. Robin Uthappa has made the third most runs in the competition, and offers a very reliable element to the KKR batting. However, Kolkata have several other capable batsmen who could make a big contribution as well, in what is a powerful looking top order. Gambhir, Pandey, Shakhib al Hasan, Pathan and ten Doeschate have all chipped in with useful runs, and it is worth noting that al Hasan and ten Doeschate in particular offer captain Gautam Gambhir some valuable bowling options.

But the star player of the Knight Riders is undoubtedly the inimitable spin bowler Sunil Narine. One of the toughest bowlers to pick in world cricket, Narine’s career has been one of almost relentless success in very form of limited overs cricket, but undoubtedly T20 has particularly suited his style. Should Narine manage to pick up three wickets in the final then he will be the leading wicket taker in IPL 2014, and his ability in the shortest form of the game makes him one of the most dangerous opponents for any side.

Unquestionably, the big hit of the tournament for the King’s XI has been Glenn Maxwell. The Australian batsman and useful occasional bowler gave indication of his ability in the winter ODIs which followed the Ashes demolition of England, and the 25 year-old has evidently gained confidence from this. Although Maxwell has yet to establish himself as a test regular, although his performances with the ball in his two tests to date were promising, he will surely be a big part of the Australian national side in years to come. Maxwell is also a more than useful bowler aside from his big hitting, so he offers a fantastic package to any team in this shortened form of the game.

Aside from Maxwell, the South African David Miller has made a fair few runs for the King’s XI, chipping in with three useful fifties. Between Maxwell and Miller, the King’s XI has made enough runs to set themselves up with the ball.

But without doubt the in-form man is the veteran Virender Sehwag. He delivered some typically destructive cameos earlier in the competition, but played one of the outstanding innings in IPL history in the semi-finals, making a typically scything and rapid 122 off just 58 balls. Between the flashing blades of Sehwag, Maxwell and Miller, the King’s XI have enough quick runs in them to beat anyone. The King’s XI has also delivered with the ball, with the wily medium pace of Sandeep Sharma and fast bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji being particularly impressive.

So this is a tough one to call, as one would expect from a final. Much will depend on whether or not the King’s XI’s slightly hit or miss batting comes off. But I’m going to back the likes of Sehwag, Maxwell and Miller to come off and for the King’s XI to pull off an unlikely IPL triumph.

Selection: King’s XI Punjab to win

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (01/06/2014) but are subject to change.

01/06/2014     © Frixo 2017

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