IPL 2014 Qualifier Review: Sehwag and Bowlers Take Kings XI to 1st Final, Raina Blitzkrieg in Vain

As predicted Kings XI Punjab won a close game where the batsmen made merry but the strong Chennai Super Kings batting failed to hit Kings XI bowler out of park, except Raina who had an exceptional blitzkrieg. Maxwell failed, but continuously failing Sehwag was motivated by his son and in the contest dubbed between Aussie Team and Team with Aussie Gut, the best opener India ever had in team, the fading Sehwag hit his 2nd IPL century to prove his management’s and owner Preity Zinta’s trust in him worth to get them to their first IPL final, even his first IPL final, despite the blitzkrieg by Raina that broke all time T20 World Record.

Qualifier Preview: Kings XI Will Reach First Final
IPL 2014 Schedule and Results

The match will go in the IPL history as the 12th match where both teams scored 200+ runs, and IPLs 30th century was registered, as well as a world record 100 runs were score din first 6 overs (by CSK). But in reality, Kings XI were the favorites and they won comprehensively in the end. The only difference being, instead of Maxwell and Miller, it was the Indian international but discarded star Sehwwag who smacked CSK out of IPL final, only for the 2nd time in their history.

The contest was always between the strong batting unit of both teams on a batsmen friendly pitch at Mumbai. First Kings XI went on to score third consecutive 200+ score against CSK, and then CSK also reached 200+ but in a third consecutive losing cause. It was the perfect revenge of 2008 IPL for Kings XI Punjab when CSK defeated them in 3 matches, including the semifinal. In 2014 while making their first entry to final, Kings XI trounced CSK in all the three matches including the final, and that too scoring 200+ runs thrice.

The match was conceived to be batsmen. But give a thought. In a score of 226 runs from Kings XI Punjab, only Sehwag, and David Miller actually could kill the bowling. And when CSK chased then in their score of 202 runs only Raina could kill the bowlers. Rest of the 5 butchers could not sustain the pressure put by Kings XI bowlers, specially Akshar Patel and despite scoring 100 runs in just 6 overs, which is a new T20 record across the globe, their other 6 batsmen could not score the remaining 127 runs in 14 overs. Including Dhoni, all the other batsmen failed to reduce the increase Required Run rate that reduced with Raina’s blitzkrieg, and increased with his run out.

There could be questions asked to Raina also. After scoring 87 runs in only 25 ball with 12 4s and 6 6s why did he threw his wicket on that meaningless single? But, such freak incidents can happen in the flow of the game.

Din’t The Bowlers Succeed in Run Feast
Give it a thought. As predicted all the CSK bowlers were hit out of the park. Their best bowler was Ishwar Pandey who gave away 35 runs in 4 overs. Rest of them included Nehra (2/51), Jadeja (0/48), Mohit Sharma (1/46) and the great Ashwin (1/44) who dared to blow kisses at Maxwell after taking his wicket in the 13th over when the score read 148/2. Any sensible cricketer would know that his team is already on the mat, and its the batsman who wants to capitalize knowing there is more batting to come has throw the wicket, and no credit goes to him. But Ashwin showed was probably frustrated at beaing beaten black and blue by the Kings XI batsmen.

On the other hand Kings XI bowlers had their own problems. Johnson (1/44), Sandeep Sharma (1/32) and Awana (2/59) were hit mercilessly by Raina, remember not CSK batsmen as a team. After 6 overs, it appeared CSK will win with few overs remaining. But as Raina had to go on an excellent direct throw by captain Bailey trying to take a non-existing single, uselessly, there was sign that Preity Zinta’s bowlers will bounce back despite CSK having a batting line up full of butchers.

They did in style. CSK needed 127 runs in remaining 14 overs. Very easy considering their strong batting line up and batsmen-friendly pitch. But Karanveer Singh (0/32), Maxwell (0/4 in 1 over) and the hero Akshar Patel (1/23), the best bowler of the match provided not a single inch further to CSK batsmen. Dwayn Smith (7), Plessis (0) had already failed. After Raina, Brendum McCullum (11), Jadeja (27) and David Hussey (1) also succumbed to the tight bowling and fielding. Dhoni survived but result was clear as he was struggling. In the end he scored 31-ball 42 runs unbeaten, but he scored when the target was beyond reach. Even he could not play even half-good as his teammate Raina has played.

So Kings XI bowlers were predicted to be better, and they showed why.

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