IPL final: Super Kings, Knight Riders battle for supremacy

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders will look to stop defending champions Chennai Super Kings from claiming a third consecutive IPL title when they meet in the final of the Indian Premier League at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

Also Read: Men behind KKR’s successful journey this year…» I Trump cards for CSK in the final» I Last three standing » I Sunil Narine: Kolkata’s mystery man» I IPL 5 in Pics » I IPL Controversies » I Two matches, two new heroes » I IPL Centurions » I Top performers of IPL 5 » I How Gambhir can stop CSK juggernaut» I Why is Gautam ‘Gambhir’ about winning IPL 5?»

Know Your Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders» I Chennai Super Kings»

Chennai’s back from the dead Houdini act into the playoffs seems to have invigorated a new lease of life into them. A batting line up which never clicked together have collectively put their hands up on two consecutive occasions now.

Kolkata, on the other hand were the most balanced team in the tournament and that balance was evident as they finished second in the points tally. But a closer look, hints at Gambhir’s supreme form with the bat and Sunil Narine’s supreme deception with the ball. Though, Yusuf Pathan striking form on Tuesday would have bolstered KKR’s batting but it is their horses for courses selection policy that have done wonders for the Knights. Shakib Al Hasan and Laxmipathy Balaji have had a good season even though they have been used sparingly.

And a spare of though for Delhi, on the hindsight, both the playoff games were more or less lost off the field by the daredevils. During CSK’s match the game was given away even before it started. If it was baffling on why Sehwag and the management left out the purple cap holder Morne Morkel out of the big match, Sehwag confessed later that he missed Morkel and Pathan’s injury had forced him to make the changes. Andre Russell’s inclusion in place of Irfan Pathan meant that Sehwag had to leave out Morne owing to the 4 foreigners restriction in the playing XI, but to play Sunny Gupta instead – well the ploy failed miserably.

Chennai Super Kings

Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Played: 16

Won: 10

Loss: 5

No Result: 1

IPL titles: 2

Strength:

• A Settled team, A captain with the Midas touch, Destructive allrounders, Potent Indian contingent. That is what Super Kings are all about in one line. Their biggest strength lies in the fact that they have been able to retain their core team from the IPL 2008 auction. They are the team with the least number of players in their rooster, 17 and still they have been right there at the top, on their own.

• Captain MS Dhoni is the golden boy of cricket in the present generation and he has taken Chennai Super Kings to heights known only to him. His clam and composed captaincy which seems invincible coupled with the cream of cricketing talent at his disposal makes Chennai Super Kings a force to reckon with.

• The prowess of allrounders have always helped CSK in the shortest format of the game. In the initial years they had the services of big hitting Justin Kemp and now the trio of Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo and Ravinder Jadeja have won the team from South matches on their own.

Weakness:

• Really!!! After two IPL titles, one Champions League trophy, and 4 final appearances in 5 years – is there a chink in this team’s armour. But again, just for the sake of it, Suresh Raina extremely impressive IPL career has had a dark spot with some indifferent showing this season. Also, the likes of Ben Hifenhuas and Albie Morkel have been tentative under pressure. Even Ashwin have had a moderate season as compared to other premium spinners in the tournament.

Key Players: MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Murali Vijay

Chennai Super Kings Squad : Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c and wk), Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikkanth Anirudha, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Shadab Jakati, Doug Bollinger, Francois du Plessis, George Bailey, Scott Styris, Suraj Randiv, Abhinav Mukund, G Vignesh, Joginder Sharma, Kuthethur Vasudevadas, Subramaniam Badrinath, Sudeep Tyagi, Yo Mahesh and Wriddhiman Saha.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Captain: Gautam Gambhir

Played: 16

Won: 10

Loss: 5

No Result: 1

IPL titles: None

Strength: Their spin attack led by Sunil Narine is their biggest strength. The West Indian recruit has trapped many a batsmen in his web of spin bowling. Rajat Bhatia too has bowled well and provided wickets at crucial times.

Weakness: Batting. Not more than often, it has been KKR’s batting that has been an area of concern. Jacques Kallis has been steady at the top but scores at a slower rate when compared with the standards of T20 cricket. Big hitting Yusuf has been a flop for them barring their last match when he scored a quick 40 helping his team to post a competitive total in the first qualifier against Delhi. What else can work against their favour is that this is going to be their first ever IPL final appearance while their opponent CSK have been a sort of regular visitors.

Key players: Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine

Squad: Gautam Gambhir (c), Brendon McCullum (wk), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Brett Lee, Iqbal Abdulla, Chirag Jani, Iresh Saxena, Jaidev Unadkat, Manvinder Bisla, Pradeep Sangwan, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan.