'I think KKR have an advantage' - Kevin Pietersen backs Kolkata Knight Riders to win their third IPL title

Pietersen is predicting KKR will have an edge over SRH when the two sides meet in the IPL 2024 final on Sunday.

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Kevin Pietersen and KKR
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Kevin Pietersen and KKR. (Source -Twitter/X)

Former England batting star Kevin Pietersen is predicting Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have an edge over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) when the two sides meet in the IPL 2024 final on Sunday in Chennai. Pietersen believes KKR's spin attack and their recent record against the Orange Army gives them a significant advantage going into the title clash.

Both sides faced each other twice in the season so far. In the league stage, KKR registered a nail-biting four-run victory at Eden Gardens. Both sides even squared off in Qualifier 1 earlier in the week, and the Knights yet again thrashed Hyderabad and registered a comfortable eight-wicket victory to become the first team to qualify for the finals.  

"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," he said on Star Sports Cricket Live.

Also read: Kevin Pietersen on Gautam Gambhir's 'leadership' remark

It is right that the Sunrisers are in this final: Kevin Pietersen

Pietersen believes the Pat Cummins-led side needs to play extraordinarily well to defeat KKR and lift their second title in the history of the cash-rich league.

"It'll give KKR a lot of confidence going into the finals knowing that they've already beaten SRH a couple of days ago. So it's going to be hard for the Sunrisers to get up, but I think they will because they won the SA20, so they know how to win," he added.

The veteran cricketer believes that the 2016 edition champions can win titles and with their consistent performance in the entire season, they have the right time to contest for the lifting of the coveted trophy. 

"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 way. I'm 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 right that the Sunrisers are in this final," he further added.

He highlights the significance of the toss, but believes KKR's positive mindset and all-round firepower make them slight favorites to lift the IPL title on Sunday.

“The toss is 50-50. I think that you have to consider the possibility of dew and also be prepared if it doesn't come. It's all about the mindset and confidence coming into this fixture. That’s where I think KKR have an advantage, given the way they’ve played, their convincing win in qualifier one, and their preparation over the last three or four days," Pietersen concluded. 

The 43-year-old believes in KKR's spin attack of Sunil Narine, and Varun Chakravarthy. He also mentioned their in-form top order led by Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer. 

"Also, look at their key players: the form of Sunil Narine at the top of the order, the batting form of Venkatesh Iyer, the skipper Shreyas Iyer’s unbeaten 50 in the last game, and their impressive bowlers, especially the spinners Varun Chakaravarthy and Narine. They have a squad full of match-winners. However, Sunrisers Hyderabad also has strong players. If they stick together and maintain their positive, happy attitude, they will be formidable opponents," he said.

Also read: Now that we have reached the final, we will definitely win the IPL: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Both KKR and SRH were the two standout teams this IPL season. While KKR topped the table and sealed a final spot with their Qualifier 1 win, the Hyderabad-based franchise had to defeat Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the second qualifier to book their place against Kolkata. Pietersen praised SRH head coach Daniel Vettori for his guidance which resulted in his team's brilliant performance.

"Daniel Vettori’s leadership has been outstanding. He's quiet, collected, and unassuming, but when he speaks, people listen. He doesn’t talk much but is always positive and backs his players and every single individual. So, I think the man-management at Sunrisers this year has been outstanding because of him, and that will prepare them well for a massive battle on Sunday,” Pietersen concluded.

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