KKR captain Shreyas Iyer, mentor Gautam Gambhir and Chandrakant Pandit.
KKR captain Shreyas Iyer, mentor Gautam Gambhir and Chandrakant Pandit. Image Credit: X

With a comfortable win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets and more than six overs to spare, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) becomes the very first time to make their way into the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

They will take a four-day break, before playing the final on coming Sunday. Their strong performance against Hyderabad in the first qualifier has sent a strong message towards the other teams in the playoffs.

KKR have been in tremendous touch in this IPL 2024, as they finished the league stage with nine wins in 14 games, at a net run rate (NRR) of +1.428. What worked out for them has been the form of two of the greatest all-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell in the tournament.

‘I don’t think KKR would want RCB in the final’ – Varun Aaron

Even though KKR have been in phenomenal touch in the IPL 2024, another team that has been superb is the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB), who turned their fate around with six consecutive victories.

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With the 27-run win in the virtual knockout game at home against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), RCB made their way into the playoffs by finishing in the top four spots.

With amazing momentum in their side, their team look to continue winning in the last three potential games to earn their maiden IPL trophy. Former India pacer Varun Aaron feels that RCB’s present form will be a concern for even the finalists KKR, who won’t want the 2016-runners-up in the final.

“On paper, definitely they (KKR) will be favourite. But of course, the result is decided on the day. It doesn’t matter if your team is the best or the worst,” the former India pacer Varun Aaron expressed in a show on ESPNcricinfo. “I don’t think KKR would want RCB, because they have the momentum. If RCB reach the final, they will have the belief that the trophy is theirs; nobody can stop them.”

The Bengaluru franchise, however, lost both of their league games, against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the league stage. The first game of the head-to-head in this season came saw the two-time champions making an easy chase of 186-runs with 19 balls to spare.

In the reverse fixture of these two teams at the Eden Gardens, KKR held their nerve for an one-run win over the visitors. That the point when things slowly but steadily began to go in RCB’s direction.

‘There are still important matches left. The pressure of the final is entirely different,” the former Jharkhand fast bowled expressed in the same show.

“KKR wouldn’t want RCB to qualify for the final, because they are coming with the belief that they want to win the IPL.”

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One of the main positives for RCB have been Virat Kohli’s performance with the bat, thanks to his 708-runs in 14 innings this season at an average of 64.36 and a strike rate of 155.60, with five fifties and one century.

For the KKR side, the form of Narine with the bat has been a blessing for them. The left-handed batter has smashed 482 runs in this 17th edition with a strike rate of 179.85, besides celebrating three fifties and one century.

The Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) will take on the Rajasthan Royals on May 22, 2024, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad during the Eliminator. The final of the competition will take place on May 26, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai.