The Indian Premiere League has reached its playoff stage after nearly a month of exciting and excruciating cricket which saw many teams perform brilliantly and many other crush under the pressure of Competition and expectations. After 56 matches, 4 teams have made it to this stage and the first qualifier will be between two teams that have had a rather distinguished road to the Playoffs. While the Kings have been on the top right from game one, the Knight Riders have risen from ashes to finish at the 2nd spot in the table, something that was entirely unthinkable at the halfway stage in the League phase.
Coming to the 1st qualifier of the season, both the teams look in red hot form although going into the game, the Knight riders will carry the advantage and the momentum of their dream run of winning 7 games in as many matches. The last match they lost was against the Rajasthan Royals when they lost 6 wickets within 8 balls and 2 runs. Since then they have defeated all the team that they have faced and are riding a huge wave of momentum after their win over the Sunrisers in the last game.
The Kings XI on the other hand has been the most consistent team this season, beating each and every team except the Mumbai Indians in their campaign. They started off in blazing fashion scoring three scores in excess of 190 in their first three games and the Likes of Maxwell and Miller at their fluent best. Although Miller has been able to hold his form throughout the tournament, Maxwell has lost much famed destructive touch in the last 5 games or so. He has been the key to the Kings success and his sudden hit of bad touch can be devastating for them in the business end of the tournament.
But Maxwell is not the only one who has led the team to where they are right now, the likes of Virendra Sehwag, Manan Vohra, George Bailey, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha and almost all the batsmen that have walked out on the field for the Kings have performed. The matter of concern for them was their bowling, but with the bowling finding their touch in the last couple of games, they can expect the Bowling attack to go toe to toe with the much stronger KKR bowling attack.
For Kolkata, the key to success has been the balance that the team possesses. Robin Utthapa has been the star with the bat, while Morne Morkel and Sunil Narine have led the bowling attack with great viciousness. To be really fair with both the teams, even though Punjab has been the team of the season, playing at their home ground Kolkata is just unbeatable. They have the perfect blend of pace and Spin in their attack and the batting has been fabulous after that dismal performance against the Royals.
With everything looking bright, it won’t be a risk in saying that the Kolkata Knight Riders will be the favorites walking into the match and for the first time this season, The Kings XI Punjab will have to play the role of the Underdogs.