Having lost the toss and being invited to bat first, Kings XI Punjab, posted a huge total of 199/9 against Kolkata Knight Riders in their 20 overs in the final of seventh season at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on Super Sunday.
For KXIP, Wriddhiman Saha top scored for Kings XI Punjab with a brilliant 115* run innings of just 55 balls with 8 sixes and 10 fours; while Manan Vohra scored an equally crucial innings of 67 runs in just 52 balls.
For KKR, Piyush Chawla picked up two wickets for 44 runs in his four overs, while Umesh Yadav and Sunil Narine Picked up a wicket each.
Earlier, at the toss, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss in the final and without any hesitation – as most teams do at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium – chose to field first. Kings XI Punjab captain, George Bailey, howvere, was not sure about what he would have done had he won the toss, but both captains agreed the pitch was a typical Bangalore wicket full of runs and would remain same for the entire duration of 40 overs.
On to the team news now where Kolkata Knight Riders, on one hand, named an unchanged XI from the previous game when the two teams faced off at Eden Gardens in the first qualifier to secure a spot in the final. Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, made a solitary change, to tweak their seam bowling as L Balaji, who will play his first IPL final despite being in sqaud of two teams who have won IPL, was bought in to replace Sandeep Sharma, who conceded 32 in three overs in the second qualifier against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday.
Gambhir’s decision was straight forward and logical as batting second has been the popular strategy at this ground where teams have decided to chase 35 times in 42 previous IPL matches. The results, however, have not vindicated that thought process, as the team batting first has won 23 games in Bangalore, while the team batting second has won 17.
Talking of head-to-head between the two, Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab have played each other three times earlier in this season, with KKR enjoying a slight 2-1 advantage. Kings XI Punjab won the first meeting in Abu Dhabi, while Kolkata Knight Riders won the next two in Cuttack and in Kolkata, respectively. In all three previous matches, Knight Riders were able to keep Kings XI’s powerful batting line-up in check, but the pitch in Bangalore is likely to nullify KKR’s distinct advantage.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Manish Pandey, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Yusuf Pathan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ryan ten Doeschate, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Morne Morkel.
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Manan Vohra, 3 David Miller, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Mitchell Johnson, 8 L Balaji, 9 Akshar Patel, 10 Karanveer Singh, 11 Parvinder Awana.