I play cricket to win each and every game, not just to compete: Gambhir

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir said he had huge respect for CSK and knew the immensity of the job ahead of him, says a report in The Times Of India. Speaking about the final, Gambhir said it’s a big game and it’s 50-50. “There are no underdogs or favourites for the final. CSK are a very tough side but we, too, have quality players who have been contributing for us on a consistent basis. I have a responsibility as a captain and when I play for KKR, I always try to give my 100%. I play cricket to win each and every game, not just to compete,” he said, adding that CSK were playing in their own backyard and have a very strong side.

“They are playing back-to-back finals and obviously they know how to deliver on the big stage. This format is so unpredictable there is hardly any scope for recovery.”

Meanwhile Indian Express writes that ahead of the final, the two teams also find themselves enveloped in a curious mixture of pressure and insouciance. “Chennai are defending their title, but were dead and buried after their league games. If someone had suggested that they would be playing the final at home then, they would probably have laughed it away themselves. Kolkata, on the other hand, have already done better than they ever have and are just a game away from the title, but perhaps have more to lose. A defeat and their experiments of the past two years, with players, captains, coaches, pitches, strategising and the staggering costs involved, threaten to unravel. Sometimes almost good doesn’t matter,” says the paper, adding that in the case of KKR, their shot at glory being backed by bundles of cash, and money tending to ask tougher questions, the pressures might be different.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, captains of the two teams that will fight it out for the IPL V trophy here on Sunday, Chennai Super Kings’ MS Dhoni and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Gautam Gambhir, are as different as leaders as they are as individuals. The only striking similarity between the two is that both can lay claim to bringing home the World Cup. In last year's final, it was Gambhir's 97 that put India in the driver's seat, and Dhoni's unbeaten 91, sealed with a six, that fulfilled a billion dreams.

The differences are more conspicuous. As Gambhir and Dhoni sat next to the IPL trophy at the pre-match press conference, they cut contrasting figures. The perpetually brooding Gambhir was all intensity. Decked in the team's purple-and-gold, an anxious energy was present in his every gesture. Dhoni was the exact opposite. Just to understand how relaxed he was, one need not even look into his peaceful eyes or see the stillness of his palm, a glance at his feet was enough. Army fatigue boots don’t go well with IPL attire, especially not with CSK’S trademark all-yellow colours. Dhoni, of course, could care less. He wore what he was comfortable in.