Title No.3: Kolkata Knight Riders are IPL's 'Super Kings'

Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell caused devastation with a magical performance as KKR dismantled Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets

KKR players celebrate with the IPL 2024 trophy in Chennai on 26 May (photo: PTI)
KKR players celebrate with the IPL 2024 trophy in Chennai on 26 May (photo: PTI)


The pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell caused devastation with a magical performance as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) dismantled Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in a lopsided final to clinch their third IPL trophy in Chennai on Sunday, 26 May.

In a season of start-to-finish domination, KKR's bowling unit was inch-perfect on a helpful pitch leaving Sunrisers in a shambles while bowling them out for a paltry 113 in 18.3 overs.

It was the tournament's lowest-ever summit clash score.

Venkatesh Iyer (52 not out, 26b, 4x4, 3x6), a forgotten India all-rounder, then helped KKR complete the formalities in just 10.3 overs.

The wholesomeness of the moment had reduced Russel to tears.

“No words to describe. It means so much. I am happy that all of us were very disciplined and worked towards one goal.

“This franchise has done a lot for me. It's a big gift from all of us to them,” he said.

He also ensured that fellow Iyer -- skipper Shreyas -- had a 'Knight' to remember after enduring a harrowing last four months where Indian cricket establishment robbed him of some dignity.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (39) was useful with the bat after being effective behind the stumps with three catches.

It was a perfect night for him too as he had to leave in the middle of the tournament to attend his ailing mother who was admitted in a Kabul hospital.

He came back after Englishman Phil Salt had to report back for national duty.

The match was one-sided, the victory was clinical and it smelt of one thing -- Team Spirit.

Everyone had an enticing back story as they got together to become the third team after CSK and MI to win three IPL titles.

In 2012, at this very ground, Gambhir had stamped his credentials as an astute skipper leading KKR to their maiden title.

A dozen years later, Gambhir, the tactician behind the scenes who remained stoic throughout the match, ensured that when the T20 World Cup ends next month, the Indian cricket board will be able to convince him to change the colour of his jersey for the next three and half years.

There is head coach Chandrakant Pandit, whose legend in Indian cricket continues to grow.

'Chandu Sir' always knew how to win Ranji Trophies but that feeling of being a coach of an IPL winning team would taste equally sweet.

More so after a little known Ashutosh Sharma recently accused him of finishing his career.

In the past few years, Sunil Narine (488 runs and 17 wickets) had lost his mojo as a batter and he rediscovered it this year. Boy! That’s a story for another day.

Just like the qualified architect that he is, Varun Chakravarthy (21 wickets), who was panned for being unfit when he played briefly for India three seasons back, made a crafty comeback.

The story of two unheralded pacers – Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora – showing what fearlessness and big heart mean on the big stage too would remain roseate.

And then there was man for all seasons Russell, muscling those sixes and slipping in those fast deliveries to make all the difference.

When skipper Shreyas came in, the 'Chak De India' song started blaring from the speakers and by the time it ended, Shah Rukh Khan, who had hid emotions behind a mask all the while, went down to join his boys in celebration.

But it all started with Starc (2/14) justifying his eye-popping auction billing of Rs 24.75 crore with a magical delivery.

Starc, who peaked at the right time after a disappointing league phase, made full use of overcast conditions as the league's break-out youngster Abhishek Sharma (2) got one that swung late, drawing him forward. The delivery eluded the outside edge of Abhishek's bat and clipped the off-bail.

The delivery could have got any batter out and it was just that the unfortunate Abhishek's name was written on it on the day.

It was the kind of ball that would always send shivers down the spine of those sitting in the dugout and even Travis Head (0), who had a forgettable business end in this IPL, wasn't left behind.

Arora, who bowls at barely 130 clicks, also made full use of conditions and got one on fuller length delivery to shape away from Head, who could only nick it to stumper Gurbaz. Head now has three ducks in his last four games.

Rahul Tripathi (9) was busy and fidgety and the extra pace and bounce did him in when Starc fired one which held its angular trajectory and hit Tripathi's willow at a place which was touched above the sweet spot as the shot ballooned up.

Ramandeep Singh completed the catch and by the time Powerplay ended, SRH were 40 for 3. Starc's first spell (3-0-14-2) was a complete value for his Rs 24.75 crore price tag.

Once the Powerplay was ended, Heinrich Klaasen (16 off 17 balls) was left to do the heavy lifting with Harshit Rana (2/24 in 4 overs) and Andre Russell (3/19 in 2.3 overs) tightening the noose in the middle overs with wickets of Nitish Reddy (13) and Aiden Markram (20).

At 62 for 5, there weren't any hopes of a fightback in SRH camp.

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