IPL 2024 Final, KKR vs SRH: Travis Head vs Mitchell Starc and other key battles that will define mega showdown | Crickit
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IPL 2024 Final, KKR vs SRH: Travis Head vs Mitchell Starc and other key battles that will define mega showdown

May 26, 2024 05:59 PM IST

Both teams boast of many superstars, and the epic battle will be decided by a few key mini-contests during the different phases of theplay.

It is the ultimate showdown between the two most destructive batting units of the season. Kolkata Knight Riders will clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the mega IPL 2024 final at the historic Chepauk in Chennai on Sunday. It will be a fourth final appearance for two-time champions KKR whereas the winners of 2016 – SRH – will be playing their third final.

Mitchell Starc with teammates celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad(PTI)
Mitchell Starc with teammates celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad(PTI)

Both teams boast of many superstars and the epic battle will be decided by a few key mini-contests in the different phases of play. We look at 5 such head-to-head clashes that could potentially dictate the course of the final.

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1. Travis Head vs Mitchell Starc

Travis Head is the fourth-highest run-getter of the season with an aggregate of 567 runs at a strike rate of 192.2. No batter has scored more runs in the powerplay than the Australian left-hander and he has done so at the rate of knots at a scoring rate of 209.4! Head also has a sense of the occasion and preserves his best for tournament finals – he was the Player of the Match in the final of the WTC and both – the semi-final and final of the World Cup last year.

Mitchell Starc has raised his game up by a few notches after an erratic display in the league stages – he returned with three wickets in the powerplay against SRH in Qualifier 1 which included a scorcher which went through the defence of Head to send him packing for a duck. Starc is amongst the greatest white-ball bowlers in history and his propensity to pick wickets (bowling strike rate) places him in the top 10 list of international players in T20 domestic cricket.

Round 1 to Starc. Who will win Round 2?

2. Abhishek Sharma vs Andre Russell

Abhishek Sharma has taken IPL 2024 by storm and blasted 482 runs at a staggering strike rate of 207.8. He has gone on a rampage in the powerplay and together with Head, annihilated opposition attacks into submission. No batter has hit more sixes than Sharma’s 42 this season!

Andre Russell is amongst the most underrated bowlers in T20 cricket. He has an outstanding record in the IPL where he has bagged 112 wickets at a strike rate of 15 – the best in the history of the tournament for all bowlers with a minimum of 100 wickets!

Russell has a favourable head to head record against Sharma having dismissed him twice in nine deliveries (in 4 innings) while also keeping the run-scoring in check. Sharma has managed to score just 11 runs at a strike rate of 122.2 against Russell.

3. Heinrich Klaasen vs Sunil Narine & Varun Chakravarthy

Heinrich Klaasen is rated as the best finisher in contemporary white-ball cricket. He is destructive against spin and has a strike rate of 189.5 against the slower bowlers in the tournament. Klaasen has also smashed 38 sixes which are the joint second-most this season.

The wicket at Chepauk will assist spinners and in Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, KKR have two of the very best from the competition. While Narine is the most restrictive spinner this season with an economy rate of just 6.9 – which is outstanding in a tournament where bat has dominated ball, Chakravarthy has elevated his game in the last five matches and is currently the leading wicket-taker amongst spinners in this edition.

What makes this contest even more riveting is Klaasen’s domination against both Narine and Chakravarthy. The South African superstar has smashed the leg spinner for 31 runs in 15 deliveries at a strike rate of 206.7 while getting dismissed once in three innings. He has taken Narine for 30 off 18 deliveries without giving away his wicket even once in four innings to the off spinner.

4. Sunil Narine vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Sunil Narine has been in devastating form with the bat at the top of the order for the Knight Riders. He has hammered 482 runs at a strike rate of close to 180 in the tournament including a maiden hundred in the format. Narine has produced five high impact performances with the bat where he has hammered 40+ at a strike rate ranging between 190 and 222!

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been in top wicket-taking form with the new ball and has accounted for 10 dismissals in the powerplay (the second-most after Trent Boult) this season. No bowler has picked more wickets than Kumar’s 71 in the powerplay in the history of the IPL!

Kumar has got the better of Narine twice in the IPL but more significantly has kept him in control conceding just 31 runs off 28 deliveries at an economy of 6.64 across 10 innings.

5. Andre Russell vs T Natarajan

Andre Russell’s potential clash with T Natarajan in the death overs will be one of the most awaited battles of the mega final in Chennai on Sunday. Russell has a strike rate of 185 in the tournament and is one of the most dangerous batters in the history of limited-overs’ cricket. His IPL strike rate stands at 174.9 which is the highest ever amongst all batters who have scored a minimum of 1000 runs in the tournament.

Natarajan has been brilliant in the slog overs for the Sunrisers this season. He has bagged 11 wickets at an economy of 10 in the final 4 overs and has been very impressive producing yorkers at will!

Interestingly, Russell has had the better of Natarajan in their six meetings in the IPL – he has hammered the left-armer for 43 runs in just 26 deliveries at a strike rate of 165.4 while getting dismissed just once.

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