Newsfile: May 26
Feel like it is our time again - du Plessis: Faf du Plessis, the Chennai Super Kings batsman, has said the side's leadership and experience of having won titles are the reasons they perform strongly in crunch games. Super Kings crushed Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils comfortably in the playoffs to make their third straight IPL final, and their fourth in five seasons of the tournament.
"I think it comes from the leadership; [Stephen] Fleming [the coach] is good with the big games and also MS [Dhoni]," du Plessis told iplt20.com. "MS has played in a lot of big tournaments and has won the World Cup. So, he is pretty cool when it comes to that and most of the players now have the same feeling. Most of the guys in CSK have been here for a couple of years and we have won those trophies, so when we get to this stage of the competition, we have got this sense of calmness and maybe the other teams feel a bit of pressure that we have won silverware.
"I was the first one to say that we are lucky to make it to the semi-finals. We shouldn't have been here. But since we are here, the team's confidence has grown massively. It's starting to feel like it is our time again for us to do three in a row. You definitely need luck in all sports and we have had a lot of luck, but now we are playing our best cricket and that is most important."
Gambhir the hardest to bowl at - Morne Morkel: Gautam Gambhir has been the most difficult batsman to bowl at in IPL 2012, according to Morne Morkel, the leading wicket-taker so far this season. "He has always been a quality player and went into this tournament with an excellent plan," Morkel told the Times of India. "He has mixed caution with aggression quite beautifully and that has worked well for him." Chris Gayle, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman, is by far the highest run-getter this season, but Gambhir has been instrumental in leading Kolkata Knight Riders to the final with six half-centuries on his way to 588 runs at a strike-rate of 144.47.
Morne Morkel to cheer for Super Kings: Now that Delhi Daredevils are out of the IPL after losing to Chennai Super Kings, Morkel said that he would be supporting the latter in the final against Knight Riders. "One reason for supporting CSK will be Albie [Morne's brother, who plays for Super Kings]," Morkel told iplt20.com. Also, we lost to KKR in Pune [in the first qualifier], so I am supporting CSK all the way, and I am hoping they lift the trophy."
Gambhir gave me the confidence - Yusuf: There is more praise coming Gambhir's way, this time from a team-mate. Yusuf Pathan has credited Gambhir, his Knight Riders captain, for supporting him during his string of low scores earlier this season. Yusuf had just one knock above 25 in 14 innings but came good in the first qualifier match against Delhi Daredevils, his unbeaten 40 off 21 deliveries taking Knight Riders to their maiden IPL final. "I was batting well in the nets," Yusuf told the Indian Express. "But the runs were not coming. It can happen in this format of the game. I was never under any pressure as Gautam always gave me the confidence. He told me I was just one innings away from returning to form. He has been fantastic as a leader and I am happy that I could justify the faith he showed in me."