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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 29 May 2014 - 05:16pm IST

Preview: Qualifier 2 – KXIP v CSK

KXIP take on upbeat CSK for a spot in the Finals

What

Qualifier 2 – the faceoff between the team that ended on the wrong side of the result in Qualifier 1 and the team that emerged triumphant in the Eliminator.

Kings XI Punjab, who have reigned supreme for most part of the season, suffered a jolt when they were defeated by second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders in the first of the Playoff matches. By virtue of finishing among the top two teams, KXIP have another chance of making it to the Finals; they need to overcome two-time IPL Champions Chennai Super Kings, who rolled over the defending champions, Mumbai Indians, in the Eliminator on Wednesday.

When

Friday, May 30, 2014, 8 pm IST

Where

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

The Protagonists

KXIP will know it is not going to be easy to topple the Chennai Super Kings, especially in these high-stakes matches. KXIP will need to employ the “go-out-all-guns-blazing” approach (which has served them very well for most part of this season) yet again. They will need Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra to set the ball rolling at the top. Glenn Maxwell needs to be sent in early and given the license to play his shots – just like he did in the two matches against CSK earlier this season. David Miller and George Bailey are the two other batsmen who will play key roles in the middle order.

Unlike KXIP, there’ll be a little more calmness in CSK’s methods. After his success at the top of the innings right through the season, Dwayne Smith will be an important cog in CSK’s plans. The one constant through CSK’s success over the years has been runs from Suresh Raina; the southpaw has, for the seventh season running, accumulated in excess of 400 runs, and that by itself illustrates how important a contributor he has been for the team.

Don’t take your eyes off the two captains too; perhaps the two shrewdest – and most definitely the calmest captains – in the business today; it will be interesting to closely watch the strings each one pulls on the field.

On the bowling front, CSK’s spinners – R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – will play a huge role, while KXIP will likely find a place for young Sandeep Sharma and hope Mitchell Johnson can bring his A-game to the park.

Notes from previous match

Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders: Conceding 49 runs in the last four overs of the Kolkata Knight Riders innings and playing catch-up with the Duckworth/Lewis par score, were the two factors that cost KXIP the match. There were 52 dot-balls in the KXIP innings and there was only one over in the first 16 overs where KXIP managed to add more than 10 runs to the scoreboard – that illustrates there was very little momentum in the innings.

Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians: It was yet another clinical performance from MS Dhoni and co. The bowlers deserve a pat on the back for the manner in which they pulled things back. MI were threatening to post a total in excess of 200, after the openers had laid the foundation with a 76-run partnership. For them to restrict MI to 173/8 was a job very well done. On the batting front, the application from the batsmen needs to be recognised. The CSK batsmen’s ploy to respect Praveen Kumar (who was the most dangerous bowler on the day) and milk runs at the other end needs to be applauded.

Previous Meetings

The head-to-head between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings reads 8-6 in favour of the former.

KXIP certainly hold the edge on the basis of numbers, for they’ve also defeated CSK on both occasions this season. Glenn Maxwell took the CSK bowlers to the cleaners on both occasions. In the first meeting, in Abu Dhabi, Maxwell scored 95 from 43 balls and powered KXIP’s chase of 206. In the second meeting, in Cuttack, Maxwell starred with the bat yet again, scoring 90 from 38 balls and setting the foundation for his team’s 231/4. In reply, CSK only managed 187/6, finishing 45 runs short.

Trivia

No team that has topped the table at the end of the league stage has gone on to win the IPL title since the Rajasthan Royals did it in the inaugural season, in 2008.

The average first-innings total in the last 13 IPL matches played at Wankhede Stadium is 176.

Chennai Super Kings have lost the fewest wickets among all the eight teams this season – 63.

Kings XI Punjab have the most successful bowling attack this season; they’ve picked up more wickets than any other team – 99.

What Next

The winner of this match will progress to the title clash against the Kolkata Knight Riders (scheduled for June 1 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru). For the losers, it will be the end of the road where Pepsi IPL 2014 is concerned. 

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