Coincidentally, the Champions League Twenty20 2014 (CLT20 2014) edition will end in the same matter it started; a battle between the two Indian Premier League (IPL) giants– Chennai Super Kings(CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR). It is the third time in six editions that CLT20 will have an all IPL final, stating the dominance of the IPL team has in this tournament. Moreover, it is the second time that these two are facing in a tournament final, the first being the 2012 edition IPL final.
The CSK we are witnessing in this tournament is a classic example of why this team has been so successful. Following a slow start, they just managed to sneak a place into the semi-finals. But again, as expected, they have peaked at the right time and have sent a stern warning to KKR after a dominating victory over Kings XI Punjab. Their team balance looks perfect, as always. CSK’s batting unit has performed very consistently in this tournament. The likes of Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis have been in great form, and the opening combination of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum has been giving very aggressive starts at the top of the order. Unexpectedly, the only weak link in CSK’s batting order has been the inconsistent form of the skipper MS Dhoni. But, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have stepped-up and compensated for Dhoni’s inconsistent form.
Chennai Super Kings’ spin bowling attack looks strong as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Negi will handle it. But, their pacers have also done a good job upfront. Surprisingly, Ashish Nehra is in great form and he’s one of the leading wicket takers in the tournament, and Mohit Sharma continues to get it in the right areas.
Talking about Kolkata Knight Riders, their 13 match winning streak solidifies the fact that how good they have been in the recent past, especially this tournament. But, Narine’s ban came as a rude surprise for Kolkata Knight Riders. Having said that, Kolkata Knight Riders will remain a good unit even without Narine. Kuldeep Yadav’, who’s been the find of the season for Kolkata Knight Riders, adds more variety and depth in KKR’s bowling unit with his left-arm chinaman. And, Yadav has Piyush Chawla to back him, who has also bowled well.
Talking about their batting, Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey have been batting for KKR. Jacques Kallis knock of 50 runs off 40 balls in the semi-final against Hobart Hurricanes will give him and KKR a lot of boost before the big final. The likes of Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, SuryaKumar Yadav and Andre Russell have all chipped in with valuable contributions in the middle-order. KKR’s biggest worry before the final will be Gautam Gambhir’s form.
Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Pawan Negi, MS Dhoni(c & w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Mithun Manhas, Ishwar Pandey, John Hastings, Samuel Badree
Kolkata Knight Riders:: Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine, Manvinder Bisla
image source: @BCCI