'Not too foreign': How captain Cummins shone in first T20 role

Just Mitchell Starc and his KKR teammates stand in the way of the Aussie skipper lifting the trophy in his first T20 tournament in charge

Collecting trophies is becoming a habit of Pat Cummins' captaincy but even the man himself believes the "run has got to stop at some point".

He's hoping that's not tonight however, when Cummins and Travis Head's Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Mitchell Starc's Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2024 Indian Premier League final in Chennai.

After winning the World Test Championship, retaining the Ashes in England and leading a remarkable run to lift the ODI World Cup over the past 12 months, Cummins has a chance to add the IPL to his burgeoning collection after his Sunrisers secured their spot in the decider with a 36-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on Friday.

Such has been the success the 31-year-old has enjoyed since taking the reins of the Test side in November 2021, it's easy to forget Cummins had never captained a team in the T20 format before this year's IPL.

"It's been a great couple of years," he told reporters on the eve of the final.

Cummins speaks to the media on the eve of the 2024 IPL final // AFP

"I hadn't captained any T20 cricket before this series so I wasn't too sure what to expect.

"(It's) quite fast paced the T20 game but I think drawing on, particularly ODI captaincy over here last year (during the World Cup), it didn't feel too foreign to me.

"We've got lots of experience around our squad; Dan Vettori's obviously awesome strategically as well as a coach."

Having emboldened his players to be aggressive and take the game on at all costs, Cummins' side has wowed onlookers with their fearless batting in 2024.

And their opponents tonight have been just as destructive.

Aided by the impact substitute rule, the Knight Riders (176.8) and Sunrisers (170.5) have scored their runs this season at a higher strike rate than any other team since the IPL's inception, Head leading the way with his 567 striking at 192.

"At the start of the season, you map out the style that you want to play that you think is going to give yourself the best chance to win," Cummins said.

"We were pretty strong that how we wanted to play was super aggressive.

"In a 14-game season, you're not going to win every single game, but we thought if we played that way, we're going to win most of them and that's kind of how it played out.

"So the little bumps that come along the way, that's OK, that's expected, and you just try and make sure everyone stays on course.

"Everyone from the players to the coaches, the staff, logistics (and) owners have been so supportive of how we want to play."

And there's no doubt in Cummins' mind that their batters will take the same approach in tonight's final.

"You never quite know until you start the match what the wicket is going to play like," he said.

"(At M.A. Chidambaram Stadium) there's been some games with 200-plus (scores) but then also other games where 160-170 has been enough.

"Our strength is being aggressive, so I think you'll see much the same from particularly our batting group.

"And we're pretty lucky with the flexibility that we have with a few of our allrounders that we feel like if the pitch takes spin, we've got plenty of spin but if it's quicks then we've got that covered also."

Kolkata have got the better of Hyderabad in the two games the sides have played against each other this season, including last Tuesday's Qualifier 1 where Starc took three wickets (including Head for a duck) to help book the Knight Riders' spot in the final.

IPL 2024 standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Kolkata Knight Riders Kolkata Knight Riders KKR 14 9 3 0 2 1.428 0 20
2 Sunrisers Hyderabad Sunrisers Hyderabad SUN 14 8 5 0 1 0.414 0 17
3 Rajasthan Royals Rajasthan Royals RAJ 14 8 5 0 1 0.273 0 17
4 Royal Challengers Bengaluru Men Royal Challengers Bengaluru Men RCB 14 7 7 0 0 0.459 0 14
5 Chennai Super Kings Chennai Super Kings CSK 14 7 7 0 0 0.392 0 14
6 Delhi Capitals Men Delhi Capitals Men DEL 14 7 7 0 0 -0.377 0 14
7 Lucknow Super Giants Lucknow Super Giants LSG 14 7 7 0 0 -0.667 0 14
8 Gujarat Titans Gujarat Titans GUT 14 5 7 0 2 -1.063 0 12
9 Punjab Kings Punjab Kings KXI 14 5 9 0 0 -0.353 0 10
10 Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians MI 14 4 10 0 0 -0.318 0 8

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points

Australians in IPL 2024

Delhi Capitals: Mitch Marsh (A$1.2m), David Warner (A$1.16m), Jhye Richardson (A$890,000), Jake Fraser-McGurk (A$92,000)

Gujarat Titans: Spencer Johnson (A$1.78m), Matthew Wade (A$446,000)

Kolkata Knight Riders: Mitchell Starc (A$4.43m)

Lucknow Super Giants: Marcus Stoinis (A$1.7m), Ashton Turner (A$178,000)

Mumbai Indians: Tim David (A$1.53m)

Punjab Kings: Nathan Ellis (A$135,000)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Cameron Green (A$3.15m), Glenn Maxwell (A$2m)

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (A$3.67m), Travis Head (A$1.2m)

*Prices in AUD, conversions correct at time of auction