Shakib Al Hasan
Kolkata Knight Riders. Credits: IPL

Kolkata Knight Riders face off Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2021 on Friday at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Prior to the start of the second leg of the tournament, who would have that that the Knight Riders would reach the final of this year’s edition.

As fate would have it, Kolkata are set to appear in the final for the third time in the history of IPL. Previously, they have played the final twice and won on both occasions. Given their record in the finals, they will be much more confident. However, at the same time, they will be wary of the threat posed by the opposition.

Facing them are Chennai Super Kings- one of the most consistent outfits in the league. They have won the title thrice and will be appearing in the final for the ninth time.

Kolkata Knight Riders lifted their maiden IPL title in the 2012 edition after beating Chennai Super Kings in the final. Eoin Morgan and Co. would be hopeful of a similar result on Friday. Ahead of the high-octane clash between the two sides, here’s a look at KKR’s road to the final of IPL 2021.

IPL 2021 Final- CSK vs KKR: KKR’s Road To The Final

Underwhelming Performances in the India leg of IPL 2021 saw them languish at the seventh position on the points table

Kolkata Knight Riders looked in complete disarray in the India leg of IPL 2021. They began their campaign with a win against SRH, however, it was followed by four consecutive losses. KKR failed to produce collective performances with the bat and ball. And as a result of that, Eoin Morgan and Co. could only manage to win 2 matches out of seven. Kolkata Knight Riders found themselves languishing at the seventh position at the end of the India leg of the tournament.

The Inclusion of Venkatesh Iyer and Lockie Ferguson in the Playing XI saw a turnaround in fortunes in the second leg of IPL 2021

Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer
Shubman Gill (r) and Venkatesh Iyer. Credits: IPL

Kolkata Knight Riders began their campaign with a crushing 9-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium. In a bid to strengthen their batting unit, KKR added an uncapped Venkatesh Iyer as an opener in place of Shivam Mavi. Also, Lockie Ferguson took over the fast bowling duties from Pat Cummins, who made himself unavailable for the second leg of the tournament.

In the very first game of his IPL career, Venkatesh Iyer played some fierce cuts and drives on the offside and impressed one and all with his aggressive stroke-play. He scored 41 runs off just 27 balls to announce himself on the big stage. His unbeaten knock helped the side register a nine-wicket win over RCB. Lockie Ferguson also bowled at great areas and finished with figures of 2 for 24 runs in 4 overs.

It was pertinent to note that Shubman Gill also played with a fearless approach and it showed how KKR are going to play for the rest of the tournament. Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer went on to stitch a number of vital partnerships at the top of the order and set the foundation for big scores.

The likes of Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana capitalized on those starts wonderfully in the middle overs. The duo’s contribution in the middle overs isn’t the one to forget.

6 Wins in 8 matches helped KKR seal Play-off berth

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

After crushing RCB in the first game, Kolkata Knight Riders ensured they continue their winning momentum ahead in the tournament. Collective performances from both bat and ball helped them register five wins in their next seven matches to seal their playoff berth. The injuries to Andre Russell and Lockie Ferguson didn’t derail their campaign as KKR had enough resources to compensate.

The likes of Sunil Narine stepped up with both bat and ball. He has been outstanding this season and so has been Varun Chakravarthy. The duo has managed to build pressure in the middle overs with a variety of variations. For the second season in a row, Varun Chakravarthy has picked the most wickets for KKR. He has 18 wickets in 16 matches, while Narine has 14 wickets in 13 matches.

Consecutive wins in Eliminator and Qualifier 2 helped KKR book their place in the finals:

Rahul Tripathi
Image Source: Twitter

Kolkata Knight Riders are coming into the final on the back of consecutive wins against RCB and DC in the Eliminator and Qualifier 2. In the absence of Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan has performed really well, especially with the ball. The spin trio has kept the batsmen silent in the middle overs, while Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson has been sensational at the start as well as in the death overs.

KKR restricted Delhi Capitals to 135 runs in Qualifier 2. Varun Chakravarthy was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 2 for 26 runs. Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer, once again, gave a solid start in pursuit of the chase. The duo added 96 runs for the opening wicket. However, the middle-order collapse left them in trouble during middle overs. With 6 runs needed in 2 balls in the end, Rahul Tripathi smashed a six off Ravi Ashwin to help KKR reach the summit clash.

Kolkata Knight Riders are set to play against Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2021 on Friday at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.