IPL 2024: Kolkata Knight Riders rule the roost

Shreyas Iyer
KKR captain Shreyas Iyer and teammates celebrate the winning moment. Photo: PTI/R Senthil Kumar

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) regained the Indian Premier League (IPL) title after a 10-year gap with a dominant eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final at Chepauk on Sunday. The only thing that did not go KKR's way was the toss as they had a near-perfect game.

Just like in the Qualifer 1 against SRH, Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc proved his class as he sent back the dangerous Abhishek Sharma with an absolute peach in the opening over. The swashbuckling Travis Head fell for a first-ball blob to Vaibhav Arora in the next over. Starc dismissed Rahul Tripathi for nine to wreck SRH in the powerplay.

The KKR bowlers were relentless as pacers Andre Russell and Harshit Rana as well as spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine kept it tight. SRH lost wickets at regular intervals and once Henirich Klaasen (16) chopped one on to the stumps off Rana, they were in dire straits at 90/8 in the 15th over. Cummins' 24 took them to 113 - the lowest-ever total in an IPL final - before being bowled out in 18.3 overs.

The KKR batters showed no mercy in their chase and were home and dry in the 11th over. Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz made 39, while Venkatesh Iyer remained unbeaten on a 26-ball 52. Venkatesh and his captain Shreyas Iyer were at the crease as KKR clinched their third trophy across 17 editions.

KKR were the superior team throughout the campaign. They topped the table with 20 points from 14 games and suffered just four losses. They got the better of SRH on all three occasions the two sides met each other. The clashes in Qualifier 1 and final were one-sided to say the least and Starc had a big say in both these games. 

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc produced a fiery opening spell in the final. Photo: PTI/R Senthil Kumar

KKR had a nice blend of overseas stars and domestic talents.The loss of stumper-batter Phil Salt, who returned home to join the England squad in the T02I series against Pakistan, didn't not affect them one bit. Gurbaz filled in for Salt admirably. West Indian all-rounder Narine was in his element - whether it be at the top of the order or with the ball. Starc delivered at the crunch and justified his record Rs 24.75 crore price tag. Russell made telling contributions with his all-round show.

Venkatesh was consistency personified at No. 3 while Shreyas led the team from front with guidance from mentor Gautam Gambhir and head coach Chandrakant Pandit. Such was KKR's domination that a finisher like Rinku Singh got very little chances to showcase his skills.

Pacers Arora and Rana played big roles in KKR's triumph, while Chakravarthy ended up as the second highest wicket-taker (21) with his dose of mystery spin. Ramandeep Singh chipped in valuable cameos and was a real live wire on the field. 

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins could not take SRH all the way. Photo: PTI/R Senthil Kumar

After KKR, SRH were the most consistent side in the competition. Once again Cummins demonstrated his leadership abilities, while the opening duo of Abhishek and Head took the attack to the opposition with their cavalier approach. Klaasen instilled fears in the minds of the bowlers with his strokeplay while young all-rounder Nitish Reddy was the find of the season for SRH.

However, on the big day they were blown away by the brilliance of Starc & Co.

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