As Kolkata Knight Riders face Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 7 final, we list out five crucial tussles between individuals that could go a long way in deciding the fate of the big clash.
Glenn Maxwell vs Sunil Narine: Thiswould be one contest every IPL fan would be looking forward to. Maxwell has shredded most bowling attacks to pieces, but has failed to rise to the challenge against Kolkata. Like most talented batsmen around the world, even he has struggled to pick up Narine’s variations. In the big final, Maxwell cannot allow Narine to bowl his overs quietly. In a 20-over contest, four overs are significant, and can have a defining impact on the match. On current record, Narine holds the upper hand. It remains to be seen whether Maxwell is capable of turning things around.
Robin Uthappa vs Mitchell Johnson: Kolkataopener Uthappa has been in the form of his life, and has not tasted a failure in nearly 10 games in a row. What has been most amazing about Uthappa’s batting has been that he has, at last, shown the maturity and consistency, expected of a senior pro like him. Having come this far, Uthappa would be keen to put up one more impressive show. He has treated most bowlers with disdain, but Johnson’s fiery pace is possibly something he might not enjoy. The left-arm pacer hasn’t been at his very best this season, but if he can get rid of Uthappa early with some vicious delivers, it will place Kolkata in an unknown situation.
Virender Sehwag vs Umesh Yadav: One smashing innings, and Sehwag is back in focus. The kind of murderous knock Sehwag played against Chennai Super Kings cannot be ignored by Kolkata at any cost. They must look to get him early else Kolkata would be in for some big trouble. Yadav could be the one man to do the job for his team. He was the man of the match in the first Qualifier against Punjab, and Sehwag was one of his victims. Sehwag’s hand-eye coordination is not the same like before, and pace can trouble him. With his speed and accuracy, Yadav would look to settle the contest on Kolkata’s favour.
Yusuf Pathan vs Akshar Patel: Pathan pays scant respect to spinners. Irrespective of the situation, he would just go out and try to get on top of the slow bowlers. While he will look to do the same against Patel, the task won’t be that easy. Patel has been among the most effective spinners in the competition, keeping the runs down, and claiming regular wickets well. He was impressive in the last game against Kolkata as well with 2 for 11. A stern test awaits him against Pathan.
David Miller vs Piyush Chawla: The left-armervs theleggie would make for another interesting battle. With the ball coming in, it should be easier for Miller to deal with Chawla, but he struggled in the last game, and was clean bowled by the latter. Does he have any different plan to tackle Chawla’s threat in the final? Wait and watch.
--By A Cricket Analyst