After a dismal first half in India earlier this year, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are enjoying a dramatic turnaround in the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
After winning the Eliminator and Qualifier, KKR became only the third team, after Chennai Super Kings (2013) and SunRisers Hyderabad (2018), to reach the IPL final.
In Monday’s Eliminator, KKR upset Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), ending Virat Kohli’s dreams of earning an IPL title with his long-standing franchise.
They followed that up with a three-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 to become the first team from India to reach the IPL final since 2014.
The Delhi Capitals, who dominated the league table with as many as ten wins for a total of 20 points, have yet to win a game while defending less than 150.
Since Australian legend Ricky Ponting took over as coach, the Delhi Capitals have progressed from strength to strength, finishing second runners-up in the 2019 edition before reaching the final last year. This year, their goal was to go one better, and they even started the second leg with great flair, but they lost momentum in the tournament’s latter stages.
KKR, the two-time champions, has never lost a final match. They upset MS Dhoni’s CSK by five wickets in 2012, with Manvinder Bisla striking an incredible 89 off just 48 balls.
KKR defeated Kings XI Punjab (formerly Punjab Kings) by three wickets in 2014. Wriddhiman Saha (115 not out) smashed a magnificent century, but it was in naught as Manish Pandey (94) and some lusty hitting down the order by Piyush Chawla enabled KKR to win by three wickets.