IPL 2021: "I’m expecting the battle of the minds to be key" - Kevin Pietersen on CSK-KKR final

CSK and KKR are locking horns in IPL 2021 final on Friday [Image- BCCI]
CSK and KKR are locking horns in IPL 2021 final on Friday [Image- BCCI]
Yash Mittal

Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has termed the IPL 2021 final between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders a 'battle of minds'.

Writing in his blog on Betway, Pietersen reckoned that the presence of so many match-winners on both sides makes it difficult to predict the winner of the 14th IPL season.

He wrote:

"T20 cricket is so tough to call. There are so many match-winners in these two teams. It only takes one of them to come off and whack a century off not many balls, and the game is won. It’s Captain Cool vs Captain Cool, so I’m expecting the battle of the minds to be key. At a push, I’d find it hard to bet against CSK. But let’s face it, it could go either way,"

The IPL 2021 final has got underway in Duba,i with Eoin Morgan winning the toss and asking CSK to bat first.

IPL 2021: Kevin Pietersen lauds MS Dhoni and Eoin Morgan for their leadership

CSK have made a remarkable comeback this year after suffering the ignominy of not qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in IPL history last year. The MS Dhoni-led unit was the first side to make it to the playoffs this season and also the first to make it to the final.

Petersen has lauded the duo of Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming for not pressing the panic button. That is something, he reckons, most teams would have done after a poor season. Peterson wrote:

"Chennai were written off as the old boys’ club before this IPL began, but their success is a fantastic tale of loyalty and of consistency. MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming have built a yellow army, one in which players have the comfort and satisfaction of knowing that they’ll be backed and backed."
"It would have been easy for them to rip things up and start again after their 2020 campaign. That loyalty is priceless as a sportsperson at the highest level, and so it’s been great to see the likes of Ravi Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo and captain Dhoni do the business," said Pietersen.

The former cricketer also lauded the Knight Riders for a brilliant comeback they have scripted after a poor first leg of IPL 2021.

KKR won just two of their first seven games when they started the UAE leg. But the two-time champions stormed back to win five of their last seven to sneak into the playoffs. They won the Eliminator and Qualifier 02 to reach the IPL final.

"I’ve already written that I don’t think KKR have been one of the best two teams in this tournament, but they have been rewarded for their great brand of cricket," said Pietersen.
"They’ve always been positive, and always looked to score runs and take wickets at every opportunity. That’s how you play T20 cricket, and it’s credit to Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan for turning that mentality around from the first half of the campaign," he added.

Eoin Morgan's form has been woeful this season, but Pietersen was full of praise for the KKR captain. He said:

"Morgan’s form with the bat is a concern, but players are not robots. You can’t score runs in every series. His captaincy is vital to KKR and England. He keeps a cool head, makes key decisions at the right time, always encourages that attacking culture."

CSK are off to a rousing start in the IPL 2021 final against KKR, reaching 131-2 after 15 overs, as they seek their fourth title in the competition.

Edited by Bhargav
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