Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders were the last team to qualify for the playoffs and did so after fending off three other rivals. Once in the playoffs, they were tasked with beating two higher-ranked sides to make the final, and they did just that, first beating Royal Challengers Bangalore and then Delhi Capitals.
Both the wins came in a run chase of similar 130-something targets, and both were straightforward tasks made unnecessarily complicated towards the end.
Against Delhi, especially, Kolkata were cruising at 123-1, with the match’s result a forgone conclusion and a place in the final all but confirmed. But then came a dramatic collapse as Kolkata lost their next six wickets for just seven runs. It came down to Rahul Tripathi needing to score six of the final two balls of the innings. He dispatched a Ravichandran Ashwin ball for six off the penultimate ball and the win was found but KKR batting should worry their management.
Their bowlers, though, have been superb of late, with 138 being the highest score they’ve allowed in their last four matches.
Chennai Super Kings
Before beating Delhi Capitals in Qualifiers 1, Chennai Super Kings had lost three straight matches and there was a bit of a worry creeping in their fans.
But then all those defeats had come when playoffs qualification had already been sealed. The win over Delhi proved that CSK were merely taking a breather through that trio of defeats.
Against Delhi, their bowlers gave away a sizeable total of 172 but their extremely deep batting line-up dug deep and got to the target. After Faf du Plessis’s departure in the opening over, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa’s 110-run partnership laid the foundation of their victory, upon which, a dip later, MS Dhoni applied the finishing touches.