Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders are the two sides left after a tournament that has lasted six months. Both sides have won the finals before, and the match-up, CSK Vs KKR, has a lot of history behind it. This season, CSK managed to trump the Knight Riders both times, but the wins didn’t come easy. Both games were thrilling, and KKR found a lot of moments to dominate. While CSK won in the end, KKR will know that they are not too far behind, and are actually in a more dominating position.
Both sides have faced off in two finals so far, winning one each. The first final is the 2012 IPL Finals, which saw Kolkata beat Chennai in a thrilling game. The second final in the Champions League T20 Finals in 2014, which Chennai won. Kolkata has never lost an IPL final, and with the recent form they could be favorites tonight. A win will take them to Chennai’s tally of IPL titles, which is another motivation in the CSK Vs KKR rivalry, that is slowly coming back to life.
CSK Vs KKR, 2012 IPL Finals
Through the season KKR was a dominating side. They finished in the top two and were one of the best teams strategically. They built a strong side, and Gautham Gambhir was arguably the best captain throughout the season. Ahead of them was the Chennai Super Kings. 2012 was an off-year for Chennai, as they struggled to make the playoffs. They sneaked in thanks to some results going their way, and stars like Raina and Dhoni were not in great form.
On making the playoffs though, Chennai was a transformed side. They dominated in the eliminator and qualifiers and were favorites to win the third title in a row. Not many gave Kolkata a chance despite their dominance through the season. The finals were played in Chennai, which lead to more concerns on the possibility of a Kolkata win, in the CSK Vs KKR fixture. As expected, Chennai came in and dominated in the first innings.
They batted first, and openers Murali Vijay, and Michael Hussey gave a wonderful platform. The platform was set, and Suresh Raina took the chance to find form. He hit a remarkable 73 off just 38 balls, with five sixers. He took apart Sunil Narine, who made the headlines in 2012, with his mystery spin. While batters struggled to get him away, Raina picked him with ease and even managed a 105 meter six, beginning his rivalry with Narine.
Chennai finished with 190, and the trophy was almost theirs. The early dismissal of Gautham Gambhir put Kolkata in further trouble. With their captain gone, not many gave Kolkata a chance. With the odds stacked against them, Manvinder Bisla stood up and became a hero. He countered Chennai’s bowling with ease and scored 89 off just 48 balls. Bisla was supported nicely by the experienced Jacques Kallis. Kallis started steady, looking to allow Bisla to play his game, and helped take the game deep. His support was crucial in allowing Bisla to go after the bowling, and silently KKR started going ahead of the game.
Bisla was dismissed in the 15th over, and there was a mini-collapse after his dismissal. Shukla and Pathan were dismissed in quick time, but Kallis held things together until the 19th over, when he was dismissed. He however left the field leaving KKR in a commanding position. They needed just nine in the final over, and Shakib Al Hasan helped release the pressure with a wonderful scoop in the previous over to ease things for Manoj Tiwary. With just nine required, Tiwary managed to hit Dwayne Bravo for a couple of boundaries to help Kolkata win IPL 2012. The win paved way to a lot more thrillers in CSK Vs KKR fixtures, and the rivalry strengthened between the two sides.
CSK Vs KKR, 2014 CLT20 Finals
KKR came into the finals in 2014 after winning the 2014 IPL season. They were in the middle of a powerful win streak, with around nine wins in a row in the IPL, and came into the finals unbeaten during the CLT20. Unlike in 2012, this time around Kolkata looked like the dominating side in the CSK Vs KKR match-up. They had a strong opener in Robin Uthappa, good finishers in Suryakumar Yadav, and Andre Russell, and a strong bowling attack.
Yusuf Pathan was also in good form, but the Kolkata Knight Riders had to contend with some hurdles before the finals. A couple of days before the CSK Vs KKR fixture, Sunil Narine’s action came under the scanner. He had to sit out of the final and work on remodeling his action. Through the IPL, and CLT20 he was a crucial part of the side, and his absence left a huge hole in the team. They brought in Pat Cummins and had four spinners in their side. Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan, and Suryakumar bowled through the game.
Chennai came into the finals having a good tournament as well and looked a settled side. Suresh Raina was in brilliant form, and he came to the party in the finals. The bowling also looked well, and the finals had two balanced sides facing off.
Chennai won the toss and put KKR in first. The Knight Riders got off to a brilliant start with the openers putting up a 91-run partnership. Gautham Gambhir finished with 80 and gave the side a wonderful platform. While KKR was in a threatening position, the Chennai Super Kings managed to find a way back into the game. A five-for from Pawan Negi put the brakes on Kolkata, as the middle order was dismissed early. They finished with 180 but could have got more considering the start they had.
Chennai came in with a task on hand but had some assistance due to the dew factor. They lost Dwayne Smith early, but that didn’t affect Chennai as they witnessed a special knock. Following the dismissal, Suresh Raina walked in and batted brilliantly. He made 109 and dominated the KKR spinners. Having played alongside Kuldeep and Chawla in domestic Cricket, Raina was able to pick them with ease. His ability to play spin well affected the KKR spin attack, which is a crucial factor behind their success. His knock stole the game. Raina was supported nicely by Brendon McCullum, who took on the pacers, to make things easier for Raina. They complimented each other nicely.
By the time Dhoni walked in, the game was in control, and all Dhoni had to do was apply the finishing touches to help Chennai lift the trophy. It was a dominating chase, like the one by KKR in 2012. There was a fair share of similarities, and the CSK Vs KKR rivalry is one to be remembered, as both sides are known to bring some great fixtures.
With a third final coming up, it is tough to predict what the CSK Vs KKR rivalry will provide. Going by recent form, KKR looks very strong and could be the favorites. However, the Chennai Super Kings are a side that handles pressure well, and both teams know how to play in big moments, making it tough to predict who wins.