Final: Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders, Oct 4, 2014

Kolkata Knight Riders go into the Champions League T20 final as underdogs despite having won their last 14 matches. Unless they choose to play him as a specialist batsman, Sunil Narine will play no part in the final. Chennai Super Kings, against whose power-packed batting lineup he has an economy rate of 5.90 in eight matches, must have rejoiced when they heard news of his bowling ban during their semi-final game.

Narine is the highest wicket-taker in this tournament, has the best economy rate of anyone who has bowled a significant number of overs, and is absolutely central to Knight Riders’ bowling plans. Out of the 20 overs he has bowled in the CLT20, only four have come outside the first six or the last five of an innings. Now, in their most important game of the tournament, Knight Riders will have to rejig their entire bowling plan and figure out which of their bowlers will deliver the most critical overs.

As far as winning team is concern…

 

2nd Semi-Final: Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings, Oct 2, 2014

Chennai Super Kings were the original run-mongers of the IPL. The depth of their line-up and the quality of their finishers bolstered a strategy of keeping wickets in hand and going berserk at the death.

Kings XI Punjab have seen that and raised them with an even simpler method – pack your best hitters into the top order and let them wreak havoc. That is how they coasted into the knockout stages of the IPL, and that is why they are unbeaten in the Champions League.

As far as winning team is concern…

 

1st Semi-Final: Kolkata Knight Riders v Hobart Hurricanes at Hyderabad, Oct 2, 2014

Hobart Hurricanes, the only non-IPL franchise in the semi-finals, will be facing probably the toughest T20 attack in these conditions. The Kolkata Knight Riders spin army has spared no side this tournament. Sunil Narine. Kuldeep Yadav. Piyush Chawla. Yusuf Pathan. Mystery, chinaman, legspin, offspin. Had Shakib Al Hasan been available, they would have had left-arm orthodox covered too. They just keep coming at you one after the other.

Hurricanes have posted big wins over Cape Cobras, Northern Knights and Barbados Tridents, but none of those attacks posed the threat that 16 overs of spin will. What will give Hurricanes hope is Knight Riders’ batting form this tournament. They have struggled all three times chasing, which is their preferred mode, 11 of their 13 successive wins coming batting second.

As far as winning team is concern…

 
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