The Kings XI Punjab will be aiming for revenge and their first ever IPL title when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday.
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KXIP were left taking the long way around to the IPL 2014 final, after losing Qualifier 1, handsomely it must be said, to KKR on Wednesday. While the bowling did decently well in that game, it was Kings XI's normally unbeatable batting lineup which just failed to cope with the pressure of chasing down a sizeable total in front of a partisan KKR crowd at the Eden Gardens.
While topping KKR and making up for that big loss will be in their minds, the more important aspect for Kings XI Punjab will be lifting their first IPL title in the seventh season of the tournament, with their previous best finish being the semifinals in 2008, something they have already topped this season with their win over the Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 2.
"There is only as much pressure as you put on yourself," KXIP's always-smiling, never fazing skipper George Bailey said. "The expectations from both teams is that they will be looking to win. But there will be no more pressure than any other game.
"As much as it sounds clichéd and boring, we are not going to go out with any brand new tactics. As a team, we will try to go out and do the same things. In some ways, the bigger the game, the more it is just about doing the basics as well as you can."
KKR are the form team of the IPL, with eight straight wins not only taking them to the top two position in the league table but also to the IPL 7 final at the first time of asking.
The Knight Riders put in a thoroughly professional performance in Qualifier 1 against KXIP, but it will be interesting to see just how they cope with the pressure away from the confines of the Eden Gardens, where the support has been second to none.
"To reach the final of such a high-profile tournament, you need to do well in all three departments of the game," KKR captain Gautam Gambhir said. "You don't need to do anything different tomorrow. Ultimately, it is still a game of cricket, which needs to be played well. The pressure will be equal on both the sides and whichever side holds their nerves for long periods of time and whoever can do their basics well, will end up being the winner."
KKR hold the edge in the overall as well as the season head-to-head against Kings XI, having won 8 out of 14 matches in all, while picking up two wins out of three in IPL 2014. The latest victory will be the one that the Knight Riders will look to emulate, but Gambhir is not going to take KXIP for granted.
"We rate the Kings XI as a very dangerous and quality side and we have to play well in all the three departments to beat a side like them," he added. "We need to do our things really well rather than thinking about the weakness of the opposition. That is how we have gone in this tournament and that is how we will go about tomorrow as well."
There are plenty of subplots in this mega plot which will eventually decide the outcome, but one decision could change the entire landscape of the final. Sunil Narine was supposed to be back in the West Indies right now preparing himself for the Test series against New Zealand, with the spinner's decision to stay back for the final hampering his chances of representing his country in the Test series.
Had Narine decided to go back home, it would have put a massive dent to KKR's chances of winning their second IPL title in three years. "It is unfair for the player when his team reaches the final and he is asked not to take part in it," Gambhir said supporting Narine's decision to play in the final. "Narine has taken the team to the final and has taken the right decision of wanting to play for KKR in the final because it is an important game.
"Any player would have taken that decision and I completely support him. If I would have been in his position, even I would have done the same thing."