Qualifier 1 Preview: Can Gambhir’s KKR Triumph Over Bailey’s KXIP?

The Indian Premier League season 7 reaches its finale with the Kings XI Punjab locking horns with Kolkata Knight Riders in the first Qualifier clash on Tuesday.

The Indian Premier League season 7 reaches its finale with the Kings XI Punjab locking horns with Kolkata Knight Riders in the first Qualifier clash on Tuesday. The partly Preity Zinta-owned Kings XI Punjab have been the most outstanding team this season thanks to a superlative batting effort from Aussie T20 star, Glenn Maxwell.

As far as the KKR are concerned, with two wins in their first seven matches, the former were written off midway into the tournament but with managed to bounce back to seal a playoff berth. Coming into the Qualifiers, the heavyweights tag could rest with the Punjab side but at the same time they would be wary of KKR`s momentum and it would be quite a challenge for George Bailey’s men to breach their opponent’s fortress at the Eden Gardens.

Both the teams are two wins away from winning the coveted IPL trophy but a loss in the first qualifier will not be the end of the road either. The losing team would be handed major boost to play the second qualifier in the battle to make the final.

Both the teams are packed with power-hitters with KKR’s Yusuf Pathan in prime form while Australian all-rounder Glenn, too, will look to up the ante. In what promises to be yet another run feast with both teams boasting of powerful batting line-ups. Under overcast conditions, the slow bowlers could play a crucial role and the KKR camp would have an extra edge in mystery spinner Sunil Narine who has the Purple Cap while all-rounder Shakib could also be vital.

Even though Glenn Maxwell remains one of the key players for Kings XI Punjab, KKR must also be wary of a strong middle-order that boasts of David Miller, Manan Vohra, skipper George Bailey and Wriddhiman Saha. With Mitchell Johnson spearheading the pace department, KXIP pacers have most number of wickets (62) but at the same time, their spinners have the fewest (24).

KKR look a more balanced side of the two both in batting and bowling. Their leading run-getter Robin Uthappa, who has the Orange Cap with 613 runs from 14 matches, has been influential in giving fine starts along with skipper Gautam Gambhir, who too has been impressive with 311 from 14 matches. The duo has been successfully giving the team fine starts before the likes of Shakib Al-Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan firing up the middle-order, which has been the KKR`s story so far this season.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Suryakumar Yadav, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, Sunil Narine, Jacques Kallis, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Chris Lynn, R Vinay Kumar, Manvinder Bisla, Debabrata Das, Kuldeep Yadav, Sayan Mondal and Veer Pratap Singh.

Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (captain), Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Akshar Patel, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Karanveer Singh, Parvinder Awana, Beuran Hendricks, Shaun Marsh, Thisara Perera, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Murali Kartik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sandeep Singh, Anureet Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Mandeep Singh, Shivam Sharma and Shradul Thakur.

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