Knight Riders v Kings XI, IPL 2014, final, Bangalore May 31, 2014

Kings XI's middle-overs strength, and the Narine factor

Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders have met three times this season, but the IPL is yet to witness a genuinely explosive meeting between its two best sides. That might well change in Sunday's final

The overall numbers

The final of IPL 2014 will be played between the best batting team and the best bowling team of the tournament. Kings XI Punjab have scored 2788 runs, including 117 sixes and 245 fours - all of these are the highest among all teams this year. Their run rate of 9.03 per over is also by far the best - the second-highest is Chennai Super Kings' 8.53. In terms of win-loss ratio also, Kings XI have been the top team in the competition, with 12 wins and four defeats.

Their opponents, Kolkata Knight Riders, haven't been as impressive with the bat: they've struck only 65 sixes and 208 fours, and their batting run rate is 8.10, the third-highest among all teams in this tournament. However, they are on an eight-match winning streak, and their bowling has been the major reason why they are in the final (though the top-order batting has picked up significantly as well). Knight Riders have taken 91 wickets - third among all teams in the tournament, after Kings XI (106) and Super Kings (98), though both have played an extra match. However, Knight Riders have an economy rate of 7.57, easily the best - the next-best have been Mumbai Indians with 8.02. Since the tournament moved to India, most bowling sides have struggled but Knight Riders have still kept their economy rate down to 7.73, while the next-best is Mumbai's 8.26.

While Knight Riders have struck only 65 sixes in the entire tournament, they have also been frugal in terms of conceding sixes - only 67 of them have been hit against their bowlers, again the least in the tournament; Kings XI have conceded 96.

Subtracting the run rate from the economy rate for both teams, Kings XI are marginally ahead, 0.72 to 0.53. They are again the top two teams on that yardstick, ahead of Super Kings' 0.19. Also, Knight Riders' win-loss ratio is next only to that of Kings XI, so in every way it's only fair that these two teams have made it to the final round.

How KKR and KXIP have fared in IPL 2014 so far
Team Matches W/ L Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 15 10/ 5 28.60 8.10 24.67 7.57
Kings XI Punjab 16 12/ 4 30.63 9.03 24.47 8.31

The middle-over kings

In terms of batting numbers, Kings XI have been particularly strong in the middle overs: between 6.1 and 15, their run rate has been 8.77; the next-highest are Knight Riders at 7.97. In the middle overs, Glenn Maxwell has scored 426 runs at a strike rate of 189; next on the list is Robin Uthappa with 298 at a strike rate of 131. (In the Indian leg, though, Uthappa leads with 239 runs, followed by Mawell's 216.)

In the opening overs, too, Kings XI have scored considerably quicker than Knight Riders, but the return to form for Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa has lifted Knight Riders in the Indian leg: the team has averaged 52.44 at a rate of 7.86 since returning to India, compared to Kings XI's 43.14 and 9.15. During this period, Uthappa has scored 558 runs from ten innings at an average of 62 and a strike rate of 144, while Maxwell has 252 from ten innings at an average of 25.20 and a strike rate of 175.

However, while Kings XI have been strong at the start with the bat, they have also conceded plenty with the ball in the first six: their economy rate of 8.70 in the Powerplays is the worst among all teams; Knight Riders have an economy rate of 7.12, the best among all sides. In the last five, too, Knight Riders have by far the best economy rate - 8.39, while the next-best are Sunrisers Hyderabad at 9.14. Kings XI, meanwhile, have conceded 10.02. Knight Riders' success is largely because of Sunil Narine, who has bowled 156 balls during the last five, and taken 14 for 156. Gambhir has kept about two of his overs for the end, and that tactic has worked superbly throughout the tournament - no other bowler has bowled as many balls during the slog overs. (Click here for the tournament batting and bowling stats for Knight Riders, and here for Kings XI.)

Batting stats at various stages of an innings
  First 6 overs 6.1 to 15 overs 15.1 to 20 overs
  Average Run rate Average Run rate Average Run rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 35.16 7.03 32.45 7.97 20.13 10.06
Kings XI Punjab 36.26 8.68 33.00 8.77 23.33 10.04
Bowling stats at various stages of an innings
  First 6 overs 6.1 to 15 overs 15.1 to 20 overs
Team Average Run rate Average Run rate Average Run rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 32.05 7.12 31.37 7.43 15.38 8.39
Kings XI Punjab 33.44 8.70 24.66 7.19 18.51 10.02

KKR's spin advantage

Knight Riders have the obvious advantage in terms of bowling firepower, especially in the spin department. Their spinners have taken 43 wickets at an economy rate of 6.58, compared to Kings XI's 29 wickets at an economy rate of 7.41. Twenty of the 43 wickets belong to Narine, at an economy rate of 6.01.Kings XI's quick bowlers have taken 69 wickets, 15 more than the seamers from any other team, but they've also leaked 8.58 runs per over. In the Indian leg, they've been even more expensive, going at 9.32 to the over.

Fast bowlers' stats, in India and the UAE
  Overall In India
  Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 36 34.38 8.09 23 35.08 8.31
Kings XI Punjab 69 24.75 8.58 41 29.41 9.32
Spinner stats, in India and the UAE
  Overall In India
  Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 43 21.81 6.58 27 24.66 6.72
Kings XI Punjab 29 28.89 7.41 22 27.81 7.20

The Narine factor

And finally, a look at how Kings XI's current batsmen have fared against Narine. Sehwag has gone after Narine, and done it fairly successfully, while George Bailey has been more circumspect, scoring at a run a ball. Maxwell has done well against him too, scoring 42 from 33 without being dismissed (16 from 13 in this tournament). How these batsmen - and David Miller - go against Narine in a big game could well decide the result of the final on Sunday.

Narine versus... (in all T20 matches)
  Runs Balls Dismissals Average Run rate
Virender Sehwag 30 14 0 - 12.85
George Bailey 36 35 1 36.00 6.17
Glenn Maxwell 42 33 0 - 7.63
David Miller 15 11 1 15.00 8.18

Narine v right- and left-handers in IPL 2014
  Runs Balls Wickets Average Econ rate
Right-handers 266 264 13 20.46 6.04
Left-handers 94 97 7 13.42 5.81

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    @Sam6e: Tangled between your hope and wish!! wishing something and hoping something else!! You implying KKR will play with two players only!. Narine and Uthappa !! We often forget an overall performing team wins the game, not a player. Its KKRs steady, combined performance that got them to final. Kings XI Panjab is a tough team but dont just write off KKR. The top two team facing each other for the cup so have some respect! May the best team wins and as far as my choice, I am with KKR, of course!!

  • Shaik Ali on June 1, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    I wish KKR can win but i dont hope they will win....coz the other team has got Sehwag, Vohra, Marsh, Maxwell, Miller, Bailey (6 batsmen) vs alone Uthappa for KKR...even if you remove 3 out of these 6 for single digit score the other three will take the total near 200...Narine if he bowls 4 maidens also doesn't matter they can still score 200 in 16 overs...Get Uthappa out by beginning with spin at both ends and with target to chase above 200 Uthappa can't relax in first 6 to keep asking rate and will throw away the wicket...Yousuf pathan has won a final in the first IPL but he is not in such form which he begin his career and only one fluke innings against SRH with three dropped catches is not enough to get confidence back to hit quality opposition

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Shakib Al Hasan: 12 10 4 215 60 35.83(ave), 148.27(strike rate). 12 innigs: 46.0 overs , 11wickets, 28.00(ave) 6.69(economy): Great all round performence. Although, a good report but surprisingly, Rajesh couldnt find any place for even mentioning Shakibs' role in KKRs success!!

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    ShahidMalylil KKR going with 3 spinners could be a bad idea remember they are playing in Chinnaswamy Blore where there wont be much for spinners as such its a batting paradise and with small boundaries even mishits can fly to boundaries.Chawla is a confidence bowler if he gets wickets he bowls well else can leak runs in plenty unless the pitch is offering some turn which I doubt happens in Chinnaswamy 3 spinners would like signing our own death warrant.They can go for 2 spinners max narine chawla narine shakib lynn would be ideal choice given his big hitting and small grounds over shakib

  • Azizul on June 1, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    I will support kkr from the core of heart because it's only a team who hired players from smaller nation like bangladesh and Netherlands and even give them opportunity to play and now those players paid their trust. I wish kkr's success in this IPL. They equally deserving team like kxip

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    The spin of KKR will overpower the hitting of KXIP surely today.This final will tilt in favour of the team which create one single TURNING POINT at vital stage of the game.Let's wait & see what is that tonight.

  • Shahid on June 1, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    My KKR Team for Tonight Will be Robin, GG, Pandey , Yusuf , Shakib , Lynn , Surya, Chawla, MM , Sunil & Umesh. Replacing Ryan with Lynn will the help to make use of small ground. GG will carry on today and play innings what viru played other night. Korbo lerbo Jeetbo.........

  • Yogesh on June 1, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Seems Narine factor not at all work against Sehwag, so today if Sehwag stays on Ground against narine could be interesting battle.....Also KXI need to plan against Chawla who is most successful against KXI..... as see most of time if he comes under pressure he will go for plenty so if KXI tackle these both then they haave fair chance to lift the cup today.....Bext luck KXI

  • Ashok on May 31, 2014, 23:45 GMT

    Sehwag has dealt with the Narine factor most effectively according to Rajesh's stats. Can he play another big innings like he did against CSK? If he does it is an easy win for KXIP. Maxwell, Miller & Bailey are the trio on which the hitting power of KXIP relies. But most people forget that it is Sehwag who is an awesome hitter of all kinds of bowling especially the spinners. On paper, KXIP is a superior all round team. Top 6 bats can all hit. Even their bowling with Johnson, Sandeep, Patel, Karanveer & Karthik/Dhawan is NOT poor as some headlines are suggesting. KKR on the other hand rely heavily on Uthappa for consistency with Gambhir, Kallis, Shakeeb in supporting role + Pathan for power hitting. KKR bowling relies on Narine, Morkel, Shakeeb, Yadev & Chawla. It depends whether they can keep down the runs which they appeared to have in previous matches. But if Sehwag is determined to score, then KKR will face a total of >200. Can KKR batting score 200? A great IPL 7 Final awaits!

  • Shoaib on May 31, 2014, 20:14 GMT

    There's no need of Kallis, Russell etc for KKR anymore as their IPL even T20 career stats suggests. KKR only need 6 foreign players with 5 of them Narine, Shakib, Morkel, Ryan and Lynn. The other one can be another batsman that has ability to hit big sixes at will. Had KKR gotten their combination right in all those years then those bad years they have had would've been very good years. KKR most likely would've been the second greatest team in this IPL after CSK. KKR should also be a good example for other IPL teams that players from teams of Bangladesh and below can be of great bargains and in KKR case Shakib and Ryan both from Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Recruiting massive names doesn't at all guarantee you success just ask Delhi and Bangalore teams filled with superstars yet struggling amongst the bottom.

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