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IPL 2024: The final clash at the Chidambaram!

Updated on: 26 May,2024 07:26 AM IST  |  Chennai

Table-toppers and favourites Kolkata Knight Riders led by Shreyas Iyer, set to be at their dominant best against Pat Cummins’s Sunrisers Hyderabad in today’s IPL-17 final at Chennai

IPL 2024: The final clash at the Chidambaram!

KKR captain Shreyas Iyer and SRH skipper Pat Cummins with the IPL trophy at Marina beach, Chennai, on Saturday. Pic/PTI

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IPL 2024: The final clash at the Chidambaram!

Tactician par excellence Gautam Gambhir couldn’t have envisaged a battle of brains with a more different kind of adversary than the smiling yet ruthless Pat Cummins as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) face a spirited Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a mega IPL final here on Sunday.

Marquee sporting clashes always pit one leader against another, but this final will be about Gambhir’s brain, which is always ticking against a captain who has transcended boundaries to turn into a leader of men. Iyer-led teams have reached IPL final two times in the last four years (Delhi Capitals in 2020 and KKR in 2024). But the KKR skipper has little qualms about not being celebrated enough as a leader and ceding spotlight to their mentor Gambhir.

Asked if he feels that his achievements as a leader haven’t received enough traction, the straight-talking Mumbaikar replied sharply. “The hype is definitely created by you guys [media]. Where I stand [as a skipper] is definitely on you [to decide],” Iyer said during the pre-match conference here on Saturday.

Also Read: IPL 2024: Pietersen, Hayden extends support to KKR for winning the title

On Gambhir’s contribution as the mentor, Iyer termed him as one of the finest readers of the game in T20 format. “About Gautam bhai, I feel he has got immense knowledge about how the game is played. He has won two titles previously with KKR, and his strategies have been spot-on in terms of what execution we have to make against the opposition.”

Dream run

Meanwhile, a decade ago, no one would have placed a bet on Cummins being a captain and winning the ODI World Cup, World Test Championship and Ashes in a space of six months, and now, leading SRH to their maiden IPL title would be the icing on the cake. However, Cummins knows that all good things come to an end. “It would be great [winning the title] but the run’s going to stop at some point,” he said. “It’s been a great couple of years, but I haven’t captained any T20 cricket team before this series. So, I’m not too sure what to expect. It’s quite fast-paced.” 

The two teams met in the first qualifier in which KKR outwitted SRH.

KKR tick most boxes

If one looks at man-to-man comparison, KKR tick more boxes in terms of overall match-winners with Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, the two Iyers—Shreyas and Venkatesh—the two Ranas—Nitish and Harshit—and spinner Varun Chakravarthy in their ranks.

However, SRH’s uncapped domestic stars like Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy have done really well along with out-of-favour India internationals such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan and Jaydev Unadkat.

No. of IPL titles won by KKR

No. of IPL trophies owned by SRH

KKR’’s final net session washed out

A sharp spell of rain interrupted KKR’s final practice session ahead of their marquee IPL final clash against SRH here on Sunday. The SRH had an off-day, while KKR was scheduled to practice in the evening under lights, but heavens opened up just when the players were beginning their customary warm-up game of football, forcing them to remain confined to indoors.

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