After weeks of seemingly neverending cricket, it's all come down to this. Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab will face each other in this year's Indian Premier League final which will be played in Bangalore on Sunday.
Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Date: Sunday, June 1
Time: 3:30 p.m. BST/8 p.m. local time
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), OSN (UAE), SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Sportsnet and Omni (Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan) and Starhub (Singapore).
Weather: AccuWeather predicts that thunderstorms will hit as soon as the game is due to start. The rain shouldn't last all night, but a few disruptions are likely.
Just a few days ago, Kings XI and Kolkata unknowingly had a dress rehearsal for what would ultimately be the 2014 Indian Premier League final.
Kolkata won by 28 runs in a match where both of Kings XI's batsmen had a rare failure. Glenn Maxwell and David Miller both failed to get into double figures and the rest of the team failed dismally.
Even the weather was similar to what is forecast for the final. The qualifier had to be postponed due to severe thunderstorms and more bad weather is forecast for the final clash on Sunday. It might not be quite so bad that the game is called off again, but there will most likely be a few disruptions.
Kings XI have made it to their first-ever IPL final after a stellar campaign which consisted of some brutal batting and crafty bowling. Despite capitulating in the qualifier, Kings XI pulled it back in the eliminator, beating the Chennai Super Kings by 24 runs. Kings XI notched up 226 in that match, with Virender Sehwag blasting 122 off 58.
Now they will have to do it all over again on Sunday. Kolkata have had more time to rest and have been bolstered by Sunil Narine's decision to play in the final rather than represent his country in Tests.
Narine, though, was not the key bowler in the qualifier between these two teams a few days ago. The spinner went wicketless while Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav shared the spoils, picking up five wickets between them.
These sides might know each other well by now, but the pressure of a final adds a whole new dimension to the contest. On paper, KKR might be slight favourites, due to their recent victory and having had more time to rest. However, Punjab are high on momentum after a staggering win, and it's all set up for a feisty affair come Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa has been a consistent performer for KKR throughout their campaign, racking up 655 runs at an average of 49.78. Kolkata have a wealth of bowlers to do the job with the ball, but Uthappa is one of the key players with the bat.
Kings XI Punjab
Mitchell Johnson has had a decent season, and with a mostly inexperienced bowling line-up, Punjab will be looking to the Australian to guide their bowlers through the process. Having been in many crunch situations before, it will be up to Johnson to help the attack keep their cool when the pressure is on.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir (capt.), Manvinder Bisla, Piyush Chawla, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Jacques Kallis, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Sayan Mondal, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Veer Pratap Singh, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav.
Kings XI Punjab
George Bailey (capt.), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Virender Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhaman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, Rishi Dhawan, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Akshar Patel, Beuran Hendricks, Karanveer Singh, Murali Kartik, Shivam Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Laxmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Mandeep Singh.
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