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IPL 2024: Hayden, Pietersen back Kolkata to win final against Hyderabad

IANS | May 25, 2024 02:15 PM

NEW DELHI: Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have set up the Indian Premier League (IPL) final against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) after crushing Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 36 runs in Qualifier 2 on Friday. Ahead of the title encounter, former Australia batter Matthew Hayden and former England batter Kevin Pietersen have backed KKR to win the title.

In Qualifier 1, KKR toppled SRH by eight wickets in Ahmedabad to progress to the summit clash. Both teams have started their IPL campaign against each other in which Kolkata won the battle by four runs.

Hayden feels that KKR's spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy will make an impact in the match. The spinners share 36 wickets between them in the ongoing season for KKR.

"I'm very confident that KKR are going to win here, as having a few days off, having the ability to watch this match, and understanding what the strengths and weaknesses of Sunrisers Hyderabad are will be helpful. KKR, having defeated SRH, is going to have great momentum. I also just feel that the quality spin of Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy on the red clay is going to make a difference, " Hayden said on Star Sports Cricket Live.

Pieterson added that Hyderabad's last defeat against Kolkata will also give the latter a lot of confidence in the final but feels happy for the Pat Cummins-led side to reach the title decider.

"I didn't like the way the Sunrisers threw in the towel the other evening in Ahmedabad, and I think it's going to put them on the back foot for the start on Sunday. The way they just finished that game off, Pat Cummins gave Travis Head the ball, and Shreyas Iyer just went bang, bang, bang. It'll give KKR a lot of confidence going into the finals knowing that they've already beaten SRH a couple of days ago, " he said.

"So it's going to be really hard for the Sunrisers to get up, but I think they will because they won the SA20, so they know how to win. They've got a structure that knows how to win, and when you've got that belief within the franchise, that belief within the ownership, then momentum has its own way. I'm actually very, very happy that SRH got into the final just because of what they've done for the game of cricket in the last eight to nine weeks. I think it is absolutely right that the Sunrisers are in this final, " Pietersen added.

Hayden further said that in the high-pressure final, the 'strong-hearted' team lifts the title.

“It's about just getting it right, really as simple as that. You've done all the hard work, traversed the country, been in and out of planes, buses, different hotels, and different beds. It's a really challenging, rigorous tournament, and only the strong-hearted get a chance to lift that trophy at the end. Luck will always play a little role in a sportsperson's life, no question, but more than anything, it's about making sure you're committed to your team on the day. What I saw from Rajasthan Royals was that while they were committed on one side of the match, they didn't fully believe when it came to batting. They felt the strain and tension, and they succumbed to it, " the former opener said.

"On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad bounced back. It's not easy to bounce back in big matches after a loss. We were just talking about that with India and Pakistan. Finals are not about retreating into your shell. Finals are about sticking your chest out, owning your space, understanding your role, and going for the jugular. That's the mentality you need in a final. It's a hunt, and you need to be in it to win it, ” Hayden added.

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