Home > Features >

IPL 7: Kolkata Knight Riders may hold upper-hand over Kings XI Punjab on second anniversary of their title triumph

Kolkata Knight Riders have won seven games in a row in IPL 7 © IANS
Kolkata Knight Riders have won seven games in a row in IPL 7 © IANS

 

Kolkata Knight Riders mark the second anniversary of their 2012 Indian Premier League (IPL) triumph by playing Kings XI Punjab in Qualifier 1. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes that Kolkata may have the upper-hand over Punjab in the IPL 2014 Qualifier.

On this day, two years ago, Kolkata Knight Riders celebrated their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) triumph when they beat Chennai Super Kings in their own backyard. It was a victory that brought tremendous joy to the city. It has to be remembered that they had a strong side since the first season but failed to turn up in IPL. However, under Gautam Gambhir’s astute leadership, they tasted success by ending Chennai’s amazing run. Two years down the line, Kolkata face Kings XI Punjab in the first Qualifier, hoping for more success.

When compared to the victory in 2012, Kolkata seem to be stronger this time around. After a slow start, they bounced back well and recorded a remarkable recovery after that embarrassing defeat to Rajasthan Royals at Ahmedabad. Back in 2012, their victory had mainly hinged on the contributions of Gambhir and Sunil Narine, with able support from others. This year, Robin Uthappa may have been the standout performer with the bat and others have contributed from time to time, but the bowling has been a real team effort.

The biggest asset for Kolkata going into this game is their spin bowling department. Narine and Shakib Al Hasan hold the key for them against a batting line-up that has some feared hitters. Kolkata won one encounter against Punjab this season, but in both games, the spinners played a huge role in restricting George Bailey’s side. Piyush Chawla was the main performer, as he created problems for Punjab in what has been a leg-spinner’s tournament. Though they have kept him out for the last few games, Gambhir may well mull bringing him back.

Chawla will pose questions to Glenn Maxwell, who has had a torrid run in the last few games, especially against leg-spinners. Chawla had accounted for his wicket at Cuttack and could be a trump card against Punjab’s lethal weapon. You do no usually bring in a particular player to counter another, but when it is Maxwell, a man who can take the game away in minutes, you ought to consider a radical move.

It isn’t only that contest that will determine the fate of this game, but the way the top-order performs for each side is also crucial. Punjab have an explosive top order in Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra and Maxwell (if he comes at No 3). The openers may not make big scores but can power their side to quick starts. In comparison, Uthappa and Gambhir have shown that they can spend time in the middle and dominate along the way. Contrasting approaches, but very effective nonetheless.

Through all that, Kolkata have a better measure of the conditions at their home venue. The batsmen can score runs on the track, as we saw in the last few games. However, there also is something for the spinners. Kolkata have managed to shape their unit for this surface and may just have the edge over Punjab. However, one hopes the rain stays away for Kolkata. In case a game isn’t possible, even on the reserve day, Punjab will go through to the final directly as they finished on top. Kolkata would then head to the Eliminator. It would be sad for a team that has bounced back so well to reach here.

Click here for IPL 2014 playoffs Schedule

Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014 Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 2014

Mahela Jayawardene ton takes Sri Lanka to 305/5 on Day 1 of 2nd Test against Sri Lanka

Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma advises him not to play square of wicket

Afghanistan set target of 260 against Zimbabwe in 4th ODI at Bulawayo

India A tour of Australia 2014: Manan Vohra, Mohit Sharma give India A easy win

Mahela Jayawardene scores 11th Test ton at SSC; Sri Lanka 212/3 at tea on Day 1 against South Africa

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Jodha Akbar: Will Jodha lose Akbar’s child?

Apple reportedly prepping a 12-inch MacBook and a 4K Mac for October release

Vir Das feels that Jaane Kyon has been his toughest film so far!

6 benefits of increased Foreign Direct Investment limit in insurance sector

Commonwealth Games 2014: Scotland swimmer Hannah Miley sets new record

ZTE India posts sales of nearly Rs 2,813 crore in FY2013-14

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here