This year’s tournament has thrown up some intriguing numbers, as the batsmen and bowlers strive to give their side the edge in the limited overs format. And as you might expect, these two teams sit top of the statistical charts in many of the categories.
So ahead of the final, here’s a statistical breakdown of both teams, seeing how they compare ahead of the showpiece. We’ll also run the rule over each of the team's star men with both bat and ball.
|Kings XI Punjab||Kolkata Knight Riders|
|Group Stage Record (W-L)||11-3||9-5|
|Highest Total||231/4 (vs. Chennai)||195/4 (vs. Bangalore)|
|Biggest Victory (by Runs)||72 runs (vs. Hyderabad)||41 runs (vs. Mumbai)|
|Biggest Victory (by Wickets)||7 wickets (vs. Rajasthan)||9 wickets (vs. Punjab)|
|Total Wickets Taken||98||79|
|Total 6's Hit||108||65|
Kings XI Punjab have been far and away the most impressive batting team in the competition, accumulating totals in excess of 200 on four separate occasions. Their ability to hit boundaries is emphasised by the enormous amount of sixes they’ve struck in the tournament so far.
Who do you think will win the final?
The Knight Riders haven’t been quite as dynamic with the bat, with their biggest total 195/4 against the Banglore Royal Challengers. While their final opponents have a host of match-winners in Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, David Miller and George Bailey, the Kolkata outfit rely mainly on solid if not spectacular batting efforts.
The same applies to the bowling categories too. Punjab are packed with strike bowlers who take wickets and can occasionally be a little erratic. Kolkata, by contrast, lean mainly on reliable bowlers who take wickets by building up pressure with economical bowling.
Top Batsman Comparison
|Glenn Maxwell||Robin Uthappa|
Maxwell was outstanding in the early stages of the tournament and was looking likely to break all kinds of records with his phenomenal displays. But his form has tailed off significantly in the latter stages of the competition, meaning he’s been surpassed in the race for the orange cap by Kolkata’s Robin Uthappa.
Given Maxwell's early scoring for Kings XI, it seemed an unfathomable prospect at one point, as noted here by ESPNcricinfo:
Uthappa has been wonderfully consistent in the IPL. It can be so easy to lose your wicket cheaply in this frenetic format, but he’s gone past 40 in his last 10 consecutive knocks. An unprecedented effort, as noted here by Opta Jim:
10 - Robin Uthappa has hit 10 scores of 40+ in a row; previous IPL record: five straight 40+ scores (Michael Hussey & Virender Sehwag). Hot.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) May 28, 2014
While Uthappa has been metronomic in his scoring, he’s not really a destructive force in the mould of Maxwell. Sure, the Indian will give you a strong platform to start from, but if the Aussie can rediscover his sparkling best, he’s a player who could drag Punjab over the line.
Top Bowler Comparison
|Sunil Narine||Akshar Patel|
Such is Sunil Narine’s commitment to the Kolkata cause, he decided to stick with the team for this final instead of going jetting off to join up with the West Indies squad, per ESPNcricinfo.com.
And you can bet his teammates will be delighted with that news, for Narine has been one of the standout bowlers in the tournament. He can pick up the coveted purple cap—awarded to the leading wicket-taker in the competition—if he bags himself three wickets. Given the precision he’s bowled with throughout the course of this tournament, you certainly wouldn’t put it past him.
Starring for the opposition with the ball has been Akshar Patel. He too has been extremely tight with his lines and lengths, as illustrated here by Punjab’s official Twitter account:
Just 20 years old, Patel has been hugely impressive with his slow left-arm bowling. His ability to vary his line and length makes him very difficult to score off, and he’ll be tasked with keeping a lid on the scoring of Uthappa and his fellow opener, Gautam Gambhir.
While it was Kolkata that came out on top when these two teams met recently, in matches of this magnitude, you always look to the team with the most match-winners. Ahead of this one, it’s undoubtedly Kings XI Punjab.
You can bet Uthappa and Gambhir will get the Knight Riders off to a solid start, but Kings XI bat much deeper and are much more capable of assembling or chasing down a huge total.