The Kolkata Knight Riders eased into the final with a brilliant all-round performance against the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2014 playoffs Qualifier 1 at Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
KKR were put into bat by KXIP, and made a decent 163 for eight, with Robin Uthappa yet again coming to the fore with a nice 41.
In reply, Kings XI Punjab, with the train threatening to end the game early, just could not get a grip of the chase, managing just 135 for eight in their 20 overs, with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Virender Sehwag all failing on the big night.
KKR moved into the IPL 2014 final with the win, and now await the winner of Qualifier 2, which will be played on Friday between KXIP and the winner of the Eliminator between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium.
Kings XI will need to play a lot better than they did at the Eden Gardens, with the Punjab side, easily the best and most exciting team of the league phase, just unable to bring out their big-match nous when it was so desperately required.
The bowling, apart from a final four-over blitz from KKR, did pretty well, but the batsmen just could not cope with the pressure, created by some brilliant KKR bowling, particularly Umesh Yadav, and the rain.
Rain might or might not come into play at the Wankhede on Friday in the Qualifier 2, but Kings XI need to bring out that fearless batting game which endeared them to the crowd during the league phase yet again, with a big innings from Maxwell, who has tailed-off in the final few matches, especially needed.
There is nothing more disappointing than dominating the league phase only to stumble in the playoffs, and Kings XI will know that.