Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday reached their first Indian Premier League (IPL) final since 2014. Eoin Morgan will be hoping to end KKR’s seven-year wait for the title when the team takes on the Chennai Super Kings on Friday. CSK are making their ninth IPL final appearance thanks to the astute captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This is KKR’s third IPL final after 2012 and 2014. But how did KKR fare in its two final appearances?
2012 IPL final
Under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir, KKR entered their first ever IPL final in 2012. Just like this year, KKR faced Dhoni’s CSK in the title match for the fifth edition of the tournament. Knight Riders went into the contest as underdogs with two-time champions CSK playing in their fourth final in five years.
Batting first, CSK openers Michael Hussey (54) and Murali Vijay (42) gave the team a good start. Suresh Raina, who came one down, did not leave anything to chance as his explosive innings of 73 off just 38 balls ensured a big total of 190 runs. KKR’s star bowler Brett Lee was out of touch as he gave away 42 runs in his four overs.
Chasing the mammoth total, KKR got an early shocker when Gambhir walked back on just two runs. However, opener Manvinder Bisla (89) and Jacques Kallis (69) built a much-needed partnership. Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary’s last-minute sensibility got the team past the finishing line with two balls to spare. And KKR lifted their first-ever IPL trophy.
2014 IPL final
KKR made a comeback in 2014 after a not so good season in 2013. This time, Gambhir’s men were pitched against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in the final. Like 2012, KKR were left to chase a massive target after KXIP racked up a mammoth 199 runs on the back of Wriddhiman Saha’s maiden ton.
It was all 2012 vibes when KKR lost their opener quite early. Gambhir stabilised the innings with a decent 23 off 17 deliveries. It was Manish Pandey’s heroics that took KKR near the finishing line. But he got out on 94 when the team needed only 30 runs with 20 balls left. Yousuf Pathan’s quickfire of 36 off 22 balls, and Piyush Chawla’s came of 13* proved just enough for KKR to lift their second IPL trophy.
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2021 IPL final
It took KKR seven years to book their spot in the IPL finals. KKR has solid spinners in Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, and a good batting lineup too. It will be interesting to see how it will play out against Dhoni’s CSK when the two teams lock horns for the Dussehra clash on Friday.