IPL 2024: Revenge On The Radar As Hyderabad Face Nemesis Kolkata In Bid For T20 Glory In Chennai

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sat 25 May 2024, 2:04 PM

Australia's World Cup-winning captain Pat Cummins will need a spectacular turnaround to secure another major title on Sunday, when his Sunrisers Hyderabad face Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League final only five days after a heavy loss.

Hyderabad beat Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs in the last qualifier in Chennai on Friday to secure a place in their third IPL final.

But that win came after a crushing eight-wicket defeat by two-time champions Kolkata in the first play-off in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Hyderabad's only title in the world's most lucrative T20 tournament came in 2016 under another Australian, David Warner.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Venkatesh Iyer iand captain Shreyas Iyer are congratulated by his Sunrisers Hyderabad's Pat Cummins after their team's win at the Indian Premier League;s first qualifier.

Both sides have faced each other 27 times with KKR winning 18 of those matches against SRH eight wins.

Fast bowler Cummins, for whom Hyderabad paid $2.5 million in the IPL auction, led Australia to both the world Test championship title and an ODI World Cup triumph last year.

"Very practical guy, very humble, very empathetic with his fellow team-mates and coaching staff," Hyderabad assistant coach Simon Helmot said of Cummins.

"He is into the statistics, gets the information he needs against a particular opposition in certain conditions. Doesn't waste time in team meetings, our team meeting today went for 35 seconds," he told reporters.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Sunil Narine has been in outstanding form this season. - AFP File

Hyderabad have racked up record IPL totals of 277 and 287 in a high-scoring tournament, with Cummins' astute leadership and rotation of bowlers also an advantage when defending totals.

Standing in Cummins' way will be fellow Australian and Kolkata quick Mitchell Starc, who rattled Hyderabad's top order in the first qualifier.

Left-arm quick Starc became the most expensive player in IPL history when Kolkata paid $2.98 million for his services, overtaking Cummins in the same auction in December.

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Abhishek Sharma broke the record for most sixes hit by an Indian in an IPL season. - AFP

Starc justified the outlay when he returned figures of 3-34 at the world's biggest cricket stadium on Tuesday, including bowling fellow Australian and Hyderabad opener Travis Head for a duck.

Kolkata, led by India's Shreyas Iyer, have been the side to beat in the competition and topped the 10-team table with 20 points in the league phase.

Apart from the big signing of Starc, Kolkata brought Gautam Gambhir on board as mentor after the former India batsman led the team to two titles in 2012 and 2014.

Kolkata beat home side Chennai Super Kings to lift their first title the last time they played a final at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.- Instagram

"I'm very confident that KKR are going to win here," Australian cricketer-turned-commentator Matthew Hayden told Star Sports, pointing out that a few days off had given them the opportunity to understand their opponents' strengths and weaknesses.

Kolkata have lost just three matches all season, with all-rounder Sunil Narine promoted to open the innings and leading their batting charge with 482 runs, including a century.

Spinner Varun Chakravarthy and fast bowler Harshit Rana have also shared 37 wickets between them.

However, Kolkata's bowlers will be wary of Hyderabad's left-handed opening pair of Head and Abhishek Sharma, who have given their team many strong starts.

Head has scored 567 runs, with a century and four fifties, to stand fourth in the IPL batting chart led by Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli on 741.

Abhishek, 23, has been described as a future India star with his 482 runs and a punishing strike-rate of more than 207.

The closing ceremony of the 17th edition of IPL will feature an electrifying performance by American rock stars Imagine Dragons.

Although IPL organizers have not announced the total prize money for this year's edition,it is believed that it could be around $6 million, based on previous trends, with the 2024 champions set to receive approximately $2.4 million and the runners up $1.56 million.

At a Glance

IPL 2024 - final

Sunday, May 26

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

Venue: M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Time: 6:00 pm, UAE


Khaleej Times

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