Dubai: Chennai Super Kings clinched their fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) title, beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the 2021 final at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday. It was a fairytale comeback for MS Dhoni and his team, having failed to qualify for the playoffs -- for the first time ever -- after finishing seventh last season.
Chasing 193, the way KKR openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer started the chase, it looked like the target would not be that difficult. But once they were out, Kolkata's chase fell through as they lost wickets at regular intervals to end up with 165/9 in their 20 overs.
Gill pulled the first ball of the innings over mid-on off Deepak Chahar. Iyer, dropped on zero, swatted Josh Hazlewood over backward square leg for a powerful six. The run-fest continued as Gill and Iyer crunched seven fours between themselves to give Kolkata an emphatic start with 55/0 in power-play.
Iyer tore into Ravindra Jadeja with two sixes before reaching his half-century in 31 balls. Gill, who survived a caught dismissal as the ball touched the Spidercam wire, hammered Jadeja for back-to-back boundaries. The 91-run opening partnership was ended by Shardul Thakur in the 11th over as Iyer holed out to long-on.
Two balls later, Thakur forced Nitish Rana to chip a cross-seam delivery to mid-off. Sunil Narine's promotion to four ended in pulling straight to deep mid-wicket off Hazlewood. Gill reached his half-century by smacking Jadeja over cover.
But in the next over, Chahar took him out with a dipping slower full toss which hit him in front of the stumps while going for the ramp shot. Dinesh Karthik opened his account by pulling Chahar over long leg. In the next over, Karthik tried to repeat the shot against Jadeja but found deep backward square leg. One brought two for Jadeja as Shakib Al Hasan was trapped plumb in front of the wicket.
From 120/6 in 15 overs, the result was a foregone conclusion. Rahul Tripathi (2) and Eoin Morgan (4) were dismissed cheaply in successive overs. Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson struck well-timed boundaries but at the end, it was too little too late for Kolkata.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 192/3 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 86, Moeen Ali 37 not out, Sunil Narine 2/26, Shivam Mavi 1/32) against Kolkata Knight Riders 165/9 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 51, Venkatesh Iyer 50, Shardul Thakur 3/38, Josh Hazlewood 2/29) by 27 runs
(With minor edits from IANS)