'All round team, hard to defeat': Kumble, Watson pick KKR as favourites to lift IPL 2024 trophy

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS): Former India spinner Anil Kumble and ex-Australian all-rounder Shane Watson have picked Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as favourites to lift the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 title against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.

Kumble backed KKR for the blockbuster clash due to their firepower in both batting and bowling while Watson feels SRH will have an advantage of knowing the wicket without dew but Kolkata will head fresh into the summit clash and they are going to be very challenging on the field.

"It gives Sunrisers an edge for sure as they know how the wicket plays, especially when there is no dew. They will have to back-up, and regenerate their mental and physical energy quickly, but for me, KKR are the favourites. They are fresh as a daisy; they have got world-class players through their team, and they are going to be very hard to defeat," said Watson on JioCinema.

This season has proved to be a run-fest with a team total of 250 plus being achieved eight times, which is four times more than what was achieved in the history of IPL. This onslaught was led by the two teams playing the finals, with SRH crossing 250 in three games whereas KKR achieved the score on two such occasions.

"Both these teams have redefined how to go about in the powerplay, and we saw that. This is a surface that requires you to utilise the powerplay and we saw how SRH did that. Two teams that have done well throughout the tournament dictated the terms right from ball one consistently and no wonder they are playing the finals in Chennai on Sunday," said Kumble.

"KKR has been the all-round team, with the ball or with the bat. You name it, you have the players with Rinku Singh yet to chip in. When you have a side with explosive batters, a bowler like Starc who is coming into his form, we saw his impact in the last game and Shreyas Iyer. Even he has done exceptionally well as a captain, he has been calm and used his resources well. He got the best out of Andre Russell and they have the firepower with both the bat and ball," he added.

Menawhile, former India all-rounder Suresh Raina feels that eight overs of spin will be the deciding factor in the summit encounter and also highlighted Pat Cummins' leadership skills that handed Australia their sixth ODI World Cup last year.

"Sunrisers should back their batting first approach and put runs on the board, but the eight overs of spin will be crucial. With KKR having won an IPL in Chennai, the pressure will be different. The key point for SRH is Pat Cummins who has already won the World Cup, he knows how to keep the dressing room running. You follow the process, you are switched on for the finals, the players know their roles, and everything will be organised," Raina said.

KKR will be backing themselves to go to the Chepauk Stadium and lift their third IPL trophy and win the title after a 10-year long wait. Hyderabad, on the other hand, are playing the final for the first time in six seasons. They last reached the final in 2018 and lost the title to MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings.

KKR last clinched the IPL title in 2014 under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, who is now the mentor of the franchise. Meanwhile, SRH secured the title in 2016 with David Warner as captain and, in 2024, they are once again being led by an Australian cricketer.



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Title: 'All round team, hard to defeat': Kumble, Watson pick KKR as favourites to lift IPL 2024 trophy

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