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Knights will be champions!

Updated on: 25 May,2024 07:14 AM IST  |  New Delhi
Agencies |

Former players Graeme Swann, Brett Lee and Tillakaratne Dilshan believe KKR are favourites to win cash-rich league as they’ve been consistent in all facets of the game

Knights will be champions!

KKR players celebrate the wicket of SRH’s Nitish Reddy during Qualifier 1 in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

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Knights will be champions!

The Kolkata Knight Riders stormed into the IPL-17 final with the most wins (nine) and least defeats (three) as compared to the other nine teams and it is this dominance that has made them the favourites to win the prestigious competition. Former England cricketer and ex-Rajasthan Royals player Graeme Swann believes KKR are favourites to win Sunday’s final at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium as “they have all the areas covered.”

Gautam Gambhir factor 

“KKR are the ones who will lift the trophy in the final from what I can see, as they have all the areas covered—be it batting, bowling or fielding. They have dominated this season of IPL and with Gautam Gambhir as their head coach [mentor] they are the best,” Swann told IANS. At the Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday, after dismissing Head with a sharp incoming delivery on the second ball of the Qualifier 1, KKR speedster Mitchell Starc proceeded to take out Nitish Kumar Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed off consecutive deliveries in the fifth over, bringing the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their knees.

Graeme Swann, Brett Lee & T Dilshan
Graeme Swann, Brett Lee & T Dilshan

The Australian pacer with his 3-34 was named Player of the Match and Swann felt all other teams will be wary of an in-form Starc who knows how to handle the pressure in finals. “He [Starc] is back in form and it’s kind of a threat to other teams whoever reaches the final. This guy knows how to handle the pressure of big matches as he has played a lot in that situation and will be deadly. The best thing about him is the raw pace that he has and with the one coming into the stumps he can beat any batter in the world. We have already seen what he did to his teammate Travis Head, who is in the form of his life this season. So, my advice to other teams is to play cautiously against Starc and try to cut off his swing by charging on the ball,” added Swann.

In-form Starc, a threat

Starc’s former Australian teammate and fellow pace ace Brett Lee also picked KKR to win the final. “I picked RCB [Royal Challengers Bengaluru] right from the top and I was disappointed when they got knocked out [in the Eliminator]. But if you look on paper and on current form, it will be tough to beat KKR. I think they’re probably the team that deserves to finish at the number one position. They’re straight through the final on Sunday, so they’ll be pretty hard to beat,” Lee told ANI.

Former Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan also handed it to KKR for their sheer consistency though he felt Rajasthan Royals have done well too. “I think KKR have been consistently performing and doing well throughout the tournament. RR played very good cricket too, but around halfway through, they were a bit up and down. KKR, though, have been doing consistently well and performing in all three departments, bowling, batting and fielding. I think KKR are going to win this IPL,” said Dilshan.

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