They started the UAE leg having registered just 2 wins in 7 matches in India, but then went on to win 5 games out of 7 in the second half, qualifying for the playoffs with 14 points, and a better net run rate than the Mumbai Indians.
Eoin Morgan’s side then defeated RCB and DC in Eliminator and Qualifier 2, both in Sharjah, to take them in their first IPL final since 2014. They will next meet the Chennai Super Kings on Friday in Dubai.
On the morning of the final, the franchise released a video where Brendon McCullum is seen giving a motivational speech to his players ahead of the UAE leg. The Kiwi told his players that they had nothing to lose which makes them dangerous.
“Imagine things work out. And in five weeks, we’re standing there with the trophy after being two wins from seven games. Imagine that journey. Imagine the stories that you’ll get to tell, the experiences you go to share. That’s what’s in front of us. That should enthuse us, excite us. We have got nothing to lose, lads and that makes us dangerous,” Brendon McCullum said in the video.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) October 15, 2021
The contest will be between CSK’s batting and KKR’s bowling: Gautam Gambhir
Former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir opined that the final may well be decided by the battle between Chennai’s batting and Kolkata’s bowling. He reckons speedster Lockie Ferguson will have an important role to play on the Dubai surface.
“Not only Ruturaj Gaikwad but Faf du Plessis is also in brilliant form. Even Robin Uthappa played a brilliant innings in the last match. The contest will no doubt be between CSK’s batting and KKR’s bowling.
“Lockie Ferguson is a very important factor here because you are playing Dubai. If you were playing Sharjah then that might not have been the case but Lockie Ferguson will have to bowl really well in Dubai,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.
Gambhir led KKR to both of their titles so far – in 2012 and 2014. KKR defeated CSK in the 2012 final, that too in Chennai.