The Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title after victory in an enthralling final against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

A brilliant batting display led by Faf du Plessis's superb 86 saw MS Dhoni's men reach 192-3 in the first innings in Dubai.

KKR, who had won both of their previous IPL finals in 2012 and 2014, made a decent fight of a forlorn-looking chase but finished 27 runs short on 165-9.

Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), the top-scoring batsman of the IPL season, put up an opening stand of 61 before the latter was caught by Shivam Mari off a delivery from Sunil Narine (2-26).

Du Plessis was unperturbed, blunting the Knight Riders' attack with ruthless efficiency in a stellar knock. Robin Uthappa also scored 31 off just 15 balls before being trapped lbw and Moeen Ali kept up the impeccable standards with 37.

By the time Du Plessis was caught by Mari at long-on off the final ball of the innings, KKR's hopes were already looking slim, although they still mustered a creditable challenge.

Dhoni, in his 300th match as a captain in T20 cricket, dropped what looked a routine catch in the second over and Venkatesh Iyer took full advantage as he raced to a half-century.

It looked as though his stand with Shubman Gill (51) was finally over at 79-0 when Ambati Rayudu got a fine running catch, but Gill was granted a dead-ball reprieve after it struck one of the spider-cam cables on its way down.

Iyer was not so fortunate when he sent another ball from Shardul Thakur (3-38) high into the sky, Ravindra Jadeja grasping it in outstretched fingers as Kolkata's hopes took a major blow.

Du Plessis caught Nitish Rana for a first-ball duck and Narine holed out to Jadeja four deliveries later, as the middle order began to collapse.

Gill (51) was struck flush on the pad as he tried an ambitious scoop shot before Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Rahul Tripathi were out for 11 runs combined.

Captain Eoin Morgan fell five runs short of reaching 1,000 in the IPL, Deepak Chahar taking a brilliant boundary catch, as the party started among the yellow shirts in the stands long before the fireworks flared after the final ball.

 

Four-midables

The Super Kings have now beaten the Knight Riders in six of their past seven IPL meetings, including the previous four in a row.

This was their ninth final, at least three more than any other side has reached, but they had only won three of the previous eight and were beaten by Kolkata in the showpiece nine years ago.

Yet their batting display was of a quality worthy of champions, Du Plessis in particular showing power and poise as he hit seven fours and three sixes en route to a third IPL title with the franchise.

Luckless Lockie

Before this match, Kolkata had a bowling dot-ball figure of 40 per cent, the best of any side in the competition. Here, they had little answer to the Super Kings' batting excellence.

Lockie Ferguson endured an especially tough time, posting figures of 0-56 and giving up nine boundaries and two wide balls from just four overs.

Eoin Morgan hailed the pressure-free environment Kolkata Knight Riders have created after his side sneaked past Delhi Capitals to reach the Indian Premier League final.

The Knight Riders limited Rishabh Pant's side to 135-5 and seemed certain for victory after a 96-opening run stand from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.

However, a flurry of late wickets left Kolkata requiring seven to win off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over to secure their final berth and maintain their perfect chasing record since the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Rahul Tripathi stood up to the task, blasting Ashwin's fourth ball for six after the off-spinner had removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 130-7.

And Morgan cited Wednesday's qualifier clash as an example of the freedom of expression that the Knight Riders' culture has created.

"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky [Venkatesh Iyer] and [Shubman] Gill set us the platform," Morgan said at the post-match presentations.

"But we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Six off two [in the final over], the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us.

"It's a nice insight into our team culture. The young guys coming in are feeling free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this."

Iyer was bumped up the order after the coronavirus-enforced delay and the two-time IPL champions have since won seven out of nine matches – winning four games in a row for the first time since the 2018 edition of the tournament.

However, Morgan refused to take credit for the top-order alteration as Iyer continues to thrive, blasting 320 runs in the competition across nine matches at an average of 40.

"The Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, he's a terrific player," England and KKR's captain continued. "He made the chase easy, it looked like he was batting on a different wicket.

"With the squad we have, there's expectation. We would like to keep going and we are playing against Chennai Super Kings – one of the best franchises in IPL history – but anything can happen."

Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the Indian Premier League final with a last-gasp three-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.

Eoin Morgan's side limited the Capitals to 135-5 from their 20-over allocation as Varun Chakravarthy (2-26) was ably supported by Lockie Ferguson (1-26) and Shivam Mavi (1-27).

Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Shreyas Iyer (30 not out) were the pick of the batsmen but the Capitals were left facing an uphill battle, knowing Kolkata had won on all five occasions they have chased following the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer then got the Knight Riders off to a flyer, forming a 96-run opening partnership as the former raced to a 38-ball half-century before falling to Kagiso Rabada (2-23).

The Capitals, who are the only side to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, managed to remove Nitish Rana (13) and Gill through Anrich Nortje (2-31) and Avesh Khan (1-22) respectively to leave the score at 125 after 16.4 overs.

Rabada knocked over experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik (0) to further hamper the chase and when Morgan (0) followed in the same manner to Nortje, seven runs were required off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over.

Ashwin (2-27) conceded just one off his first two balls, removing Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with his following two, before Rahul Tripathi (12 not out) smashed a maximum to collect the Knight Riders' seventh win in their last nine matches with just one ball to spare.

The win means Morgan's team will meet MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in Friday's final as the Capitals fell before the showpiece once more.

Classy Chakravarthy

Chakravarthy may have overstepped and offered Shimron Heytmer a lifeline on just two, however, the Kolkata bowler escaped without too much punishment as the West Indian mustered just 15 more runs.

The 30-year-old was the only Knight Riders bowler to not concede a single maximum, delivering seven dot balls in an economical spell through the middle overs.

Nervy Narine

Narine was the man of the hour against the Royal Challengers Bangalore as he took 4-21 and blasted a 15-ball 26, but he failed to back up that heroic performance.

The KKR off-spinner went wicketless in his four-over allocation, conceding 27 runs before falling for a first-ball duck as he looked to launch his side to victory.

Sunil Narine played an inspirational role with the ball and then provided a boost with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with two balls remaining to move to within one match of their first Indian Premier League final since 2014.

First, Narine (4-21) was essential in ensuring Bangalore could only set a modest target of 138 runs as he took a match-high four wickets, and then his arrival at the crease provided KKR with direction at just the right time as they ultimately reached 139-6.

Delhi Capitals await in the next round as they prepare to tussle for the right to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, marking an incredible turnaround in KKR's fortunes after winning only two of their first seven matches prior to the season's suspension in May.

Bangalore had initially looked in good shape as Virat Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) helped them to 49-0 after five overs, before the latter went to Lockie Ferguson at the start of the sixth.

They did not lose another wicket until Narine's first over in the 10th as he tempted Srikar Bharat to pick out Venkatesh Iyer. The same man then accounted for captain Kohli, who misjudged a delivery when going for a slog sweep, AB de Villiers (11) and Glenn Maxwell (15) to put KKR in complete control.

Shubman Gill (29) started the chase well, but KKR hit something of a rut and were 79-3 through 11 overs when Narine came in to again turn the tide.

Three sixes from the first three legal deliveries he faced on his way to 26 set KKR on course, even if RCB forced an intriguing finish when Mohammed Siraj claimed Narine and then Dinesh Karthik (10) in the 18th over.

Seven from Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan off four balls in the final over got the job done.

 

Narine the double threat

This was a wonderful showing from Narine, further highlighting the surprising nature of his omission from the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. His four wickets were twice as many as anyone else, while RCB only took 21 runs from his deliveries. He then gave KKR the kick up the backside that they needed with the bat, initially getting 23 runs from just nine balls.

Christian taken for a ride

The main difference between these sides on the day, and Kohli accepted as much afterwards, was the bowling. Dan Christian may have only bowled 1.4 overs, but that was an exceptionally expensive cameo, costing 29 runs, the joint-most of the RCB bowlers.

Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs to close in on a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs.

Shubman Gill's 56 helped Kolkata to a commanding total of 171-4 in Sharjah, where the Royals succumbed to a chastening defeat.

Shivam Mavi took four wickets, with Lockie Ferguson claiming three scalps as the Royals capitulated to 85 all out in the 17th over.

Kolkata look certain to finish in the top four, while their beaten opponents' already slim hopes went up in smoke.

Gill and Venkatesh Iyer (38) laid a solid foundation for KKR with a 79-run opening partnership, with the remainder of the order contributing double-figure scores.

By contrast, only two Royals batsmen hit double figures as Rahul Tewatia's fine 44 went unrewarded.

Mavi magic

With the Royals losing Yashasvi Jaiswal in the first over and slumping to 13-4 after only 22 deliveries, the writing was on the wall early on in their reply.

Mavi did much of the damage with the ball, his 4-21 restricting the Royals to their lowest total in this IPL season.

KKR almost there

The only team who can prevent the Knight Riders extending their campaign are reigning champions Mumbai Indians.

But the Indians, who play Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, must bat first and win by a record 171 runs in order to claim fourth spot on net run rate.

Shubman Gill made a decisive half-century as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in their battle for the final Indian Premier League play-off spot.

There is only one place in the last four up for grabs after Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified on Sunday and KKR are primed to extend their season after this victory at the Dubai International Stadium.

Rooted to the bottom of the table with only two wins, Sunrisers could only post 115-8 after Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.

Williamson top scored with only 26 and Abdul Samad made a quickfire 25, with Tim Southee (2-26) Shivam Mavi (2-29) and Varun Chakravarthy 2-26 restricting Hyderabad to a below-par total.

Shakib Al Hasan marked his first appearance since the tournament resumed in the UAE by running Williamson out with a direct hit and the all-rounder also took 1-20.

Gill struck 57 from 51 balls with support from Nitish Rana (25) and Dinesh Karthik made an unbeaten 18 as the Knight Riders got home with two balls to spare

The win moves Eoin Morgan's fourth-placed side two points clear of Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians with a superior run-rate.

Rajasthan and defending champions Mumbai have a game in hand ahead of KKR's final match of the regular season against the Royals in Sharjah on Thursday.

Southee sets the tone

New Zealand paceman Southee went for 40 from four wicketless overs in a loss to Punjab Kings on Friday.

He charged in to put that behind him two days later, trapping Wriddhiman Saha leg before first ball off the second delivery of the match.

Southee also saw the back of Samad after he had hit three sixes, with Varun and Mavi also impressing along with the returning Shakib.

Composed Gill fits the bill

Calm heads were needed in the run chase with so much at stake as the play-off battle hots up, with the Royals knowing a second successive defeat could be so costly.

Opening batsman Gill delivered, laying the foundations with a composed knock that included 10 boundaries.

Siddarth Kaul had Gill caught by Jason Holder, who took 2-32, in the deep in the 17th over, but Morgan's men were well on their way to victory by then.

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan insists the franchise is monitoring the fitness of West Indies star Andre Russell on a day-by-day basic but remains unsure of exactly when the player will return to action.

The bit-hitting all-rounder was forced to leave the field after making a good save on the mid-wicket boundary and jumped himself off the field as soon as he threw back the ball.  The 33-year-old did not feature for the team against the Dehli Capitals, or Friday’s encounter against the Punjab Kings XI.

Despite Russell missing the second game in a row, Morgan did not shed any more light on the player’s current injury status.

“Lockie and Russell are being monitored day by day. They have to rehab extremely well in order to be fit,” Morgan said.

Earlier, David Hussey, KKR’s team mentor, had described Russell’s injury as a hamstring injury but expressed hope that the player could return to the line-up soon,

“He said he felt something pop in his leg, his hamstring. We’ve got the best medical staff in the business so they’ll tend to him and hopefully, it’s nothing too serious, because he’s a key part of our team,” Hussey said.

In addition to the Knight Riders, the West Indies will also be closely monitoring the situation, with the player expected to line up for the World T20 later this month.

 

 

Punjab Kings emerged triumphant after a dramatic finish to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets and keep their Indian Premier League play-off hopes alive.

Chasing 166 to win, captain KL Rahul (67 runs from 55 balls) took Punjab to the brink of a vital victory only to fall in the final over, leaving them needing four from as many balls.

Shahrukh Khan (22 from nine) then looked like he had been caught in the deep off the next delivery, only for Rahul Tripathi to drop the ball over the boundary for a six, ending the contest.

That thrilling finale came after a run chase that Punjab had long looked to have under control, with Mayank Agarwal (40 from 27) also making a key contribution.

KKR had earlier managed 165-7 after being put in to bat, with Venkatesh Iyer scoring 67 off 49 to give his side a chance.

Instead, Punjab's successful chase means they join KKR and Mumbai Indians on 10 points in a competitive battle to achieve a top-four place.

No Gayle, no problem for Kings

Chris Gayle leaving the IPL due to bubble fatigue was a blow for the Kings, but they were still able to get the win they desperately needed here.

Rahul, who had two maximums, anchored the innings and would have been disappointed not to have finished the chase himself. Still, he can reflect on a job well done while sitting as the competition's leading run scorer with 489, this being his fifth fifty in 11 matches.

KKR fail to build on Iyer platform

With Andre Russell out injured, it was Iyer who did the damage with the bat for KKR, his 72-run partnership with Tripathi for the second wicket setting an impressive platform.

However, KKR did not take full advantage and, having reached 120-2, they struggled. After Iyer's dismissal, Nitish Rana (31 off 18) was the only batter able to accelerate the rate.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury during the Kolkata Knight Riders’ two-wicket loss to the Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Ravindra Jadeja was the hero as Chennai Super Kings pinched a dramatic two-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Kolkata mustered 171-6 from their 20-over allocation and looked heavy favourites, with MS Dhoni's Super Kings needing 24 off the final 10 balls.

However, Jadeja (22) smashed 20 off Prasidh Krishna's final four balls in the penultimate over, with number 10 Deepak Chahar (one not out) then holding his nerve to hit the winning run off the final ball of the match.

Shardul Thakur and Josh Hazlewood took two wickets apiece, and Jadeja picked up 1-21, but Eoin Morgan's Knight Riders still posted a handy total, with Rahul Tripathi (45) and Nitish Rana (37) providing much of the impetus.

Dinesh Karthik played an important hand with a late 26 from just 11 deliveries, but that did not seem to matter as Chennai made a dashing start to their reply, openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad making 43 and 40 respectively.

Once they both fell, Sunil Narine and the Knight Riders attack began to make an impact with the ball as the Super Kings collapsed from 102-1 to 142-6, despite Moeen Ali making 32.

Yet Jadeja then came up with the late intervention that earned him man-of-the-match honours, launching two sixes before immediately adding a pair of fours in the 19th-over burst.

Jadeja fell to the penultimate ball of the contest in Abu Dhabi, pinned lbw by Narine, but Chahar came up with the single required to give Chennai the win.

Nervy Narine

Narine's first two overs were blasted for 25, but the off-spinner led the Knight Riders' recovery as he removed Ambati Rayudu, Sam Curran and Jadeja.

He kept his team in the match all the way to the final ball, after Super Kings' top three earlier piled on the runs, but Jadeja's big-hitting had made it too much of a tall order.

More needed from Morgan?

Morgan struggled for fluidity with the bat, and he may feel his slow scoring ultimately cost his side as they were pipped on the final ball.

The England captain failed to capitalise on Tripathi's top-order impetus as he limped to just eight off 14 balls before being removed by Hazlewood in the ninth over with the score at 70-3.

Kolkata Knight Riders recorded only their second win in the past 14 Indian Premier League meetings with Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Eoin Morgan's side swept to an impressive seven-wicket victory after Mumbai had made a strong start through Rohit Sharma (33) and Quinton de Kock (55), having been put in to bat.

The Knight Riders made the challenge of chasing 156 look all too easy, Rahul Tripathi (74) leading the way as they reached 159-3 with 29 balls to spare.

An opening stand of 78 was finally broken when Sunil Narine (1-20) accounted for Rohit before Suryakumar Yadav went for the loss of just five runs.

De Kock's solid 55 ended when he mishit the ball straight to Narine as Prasidh Krishna got his second wicket.

Kieron Pollard (21) and Krunal Pandya (12) helped to stretch the Indians' score to 155-6, and Kolkata's chase looked in a little danger after Shubman Gill was skittled for 13 by Jasprit Bumrah (2-35).

It proved a mere blip during an impeccable innings, though, as Venkatesh Iyer and Tripathi each reached stunning half-centuries while Morgan managed seven off eight balls before being caught by Trent Boult at the ropes.

A commanding victory was secured in style, Nitish Rana reverse sweeping for four as the Knight Riders reached their target with almost five full overs left.

TRIPATHI LEADS MASTERCLASS

It would be easy to blame the Mumbai attack for the ease with which their score was hunted down, Kolkata managing 22 boundaries including eight maximums from only 15.1 overs.

However, praise has to go to the batsmen – and Tripathi in particular – for some immaculate strokes as they finished with a run rate of 10.48.

KNIGHT RIDERS GALLOPING TO PLAY-OFFS

Kolkata are into fourth in the table after managing just a seventh win over the Indians in 29 IPL matches.

With three victories from four, they look to be finding form at a critical moment in the competition.

Andre Russell and Varan Chakravarthy combined to destroy the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting on the way to a comprehensive nine-wicket win for the Kolkata Knight Riders with 10 overs to spare on Monday.

Russell, who bowled 18 balls, took the remarkable figures of 3-9 that included the wicket of the dangerous AB de Villiers for a first-ball duck as RCB plunged to 92 all out in 19 overs in Abu Dhabi. Chakravarthy was equally destructive with figures of 3-13 during his four-over spell in which he got the prized wicket Virat Kohli for five.

Of the RCB batsmen, only Devdutt Padikkal, who top-scored with 22, Srikar Bharat, 16, Glen Maxwell, 10 and Harshel Patel, 12, managed to get into double figures against the stifling and penetrative KKR bowling attack. Lockie Ferguson also got his piece of the action with 2-24.

In reply, Shubman Gill and Ventakesh Iyer scored at better than eight runs an over putting on 82 for the first wicket. The partnership was broken when Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Gill for 48 first ball of the tenth over.

Andre Russell, who replaced Gill, did not face a single delivery as Iyer hit fours from Chahal’s third, fifth and sixth deliveries to complete the commanding win.

 

The Indian Premier League has confirmed two positive coronavirus cases in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating away from the squad.

The rest of the Knight Riders' group returned negative results, though a daily testing schedule has now been put in place to quickly identify any further cases that occur.

No new date for the round-robin game against the Royal Challengers has been announced.

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 19million since the start of the global pandemic.

However, this is the first time there have been confirmed cases within the IPL bubble. The Twenty20 tournament returned to India this year after the 2020 edition was staged in the United Arab Emirates.

"Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19," a statement on the IPL website read.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.

"The medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour."

Kolkata sit seventh in the IPL table after two wins in seven games. They lost by seven wickets to Delhi Capitals in their most recent outing, which took place last Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Andre Russell, has crossed the threshold of 6000 runs in T20 cricket during an IPL match against the Delhi Capitals.

The big hitter became the sixth West Indian to reach the mark behind the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard on top run-getter Chris Gayle.  Russell is, however, the youngest West Indian player to reach the total.

Russell, who was celebrating his birthday, reached the milestone with a double in the 16th over of the match.  He went on to blast an unbeaten 45 from 27 deliveries but Delhi won the match by 7 runs.

Overall, Russell has played 80 matches in the Indian Premier League, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 29.68 with a strike rate of 179.67 and a high score of 88*.  He has also taken 68 wickets in IPL so far, at an economy rate of 9.08 and an average of 26.86.

 This season the player is off to a strong start for Kolkata, scoring 118 runs in six matches at a solid strike rate of 151. He has also claimed seven wickets in six games.  Things have, however, not gone well for KKR who have lost four of their first 6 games.

Prithvi Shaw was the star performer for Delhi Capitals as they recorded an emphatic seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Shaw hit 11 fours – including six in a row in one over – and a trio of sixes in an innings of 82 that helped the Capitals coast to a 155-run target at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Shikhar Dhawan was happy enough to play second fiddle to his opening partner, making 46 from 47 balls before falling lbw to Pat Cummins with the total on 132 in the 14th over.

Cummins (3-24) also removed the outstanding Shaw and Rishabh Pant (16) with the finishing line in sight, leaving Marcus Stoinis to complete the job with a streaky four as Delhi triumphed with 21 balls to spare.

Kolkata had been indebted to some big hitting in the closing stages from Andre Russell but still finished with a below-par 154-6. The all-rounder blasted two fours and four sixes to top score with 45 not out.

Their hopes of posting a more substantial total had been damaged by losing four wickets for 13 runs in the middle overs, seeing them slip from 69-1 to 82-5.

Shubman Gill made 43 at the top of the order but both captain Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine failed to trouble the scorers amid the collapse.

Lalit Yadav finished with figures of 2-13 for Delhi, while Axar Patel (2-32) also struck twice with his left-arm spin to help restrict the Knight Riders, who have now lost five of the past six meetings between the teams.


Double celebration for Russell

Russell celebrated his 33rd birthday with an eye-catching 27-ball knock that saw him surpass 6,000 Twenty20 runs in his career.

The right-hander was cautious at first before cutting loose, smashing Kagiso Rabada for successive sixes to finish the 19th over before ending the 20th with another off the bowling of Avesh Khan.

Capitals gain from a Shaw thing

Shaw reached his half-century from just 18 deliveries, aided by taking Shivam Mavi for six successive fours in an opening over that cost 25 runs (Delhi's reply had started with a wide).

Delhi's fifth victory in seven outings in the 2021 season sees them move level on 10 points with leaders Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the table.

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