Narine and Gambhir mastermind Kolkata's IPL final triumph over Hyderabad

Knight Riders blow away Sunrisers in eight-wicket victory in Chennai

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Twelve years after winning their first Indian Premier League title together with Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir finally completed their hat-trick on Sunday night.

The two KKR stalwarts were back in alliance for the franchise this season, with dramatic effects.

Now as captain and coach respectively, they oversaw the side’s rise to the top of the league standings. Then, in Chennai, Kolkata completed the most emphatic win in a final in the history of the competition.

They beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets, having only just got halfway through their allotted overs in the run chase. It was an annihilation.

They bowled Hyderabad out for the lowest total in an IPL final. It felt as good as over as soon as Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head, the opening duo who have been extraordinarily destructive across this season, came and went cheaply.

Sharma was dismissed for two by Mitchell Starc, who went a long way to justifying Kolkata’s $3 million outlay on him, as he took two for 14.

Head was then caught at the wicket first ball off Vaibhav Arora. Hyderabad failed to recover, with Andre Russell the pick of the bowlers with three wickets as Kolkata bowled their opposition out for 113 with nine balls left unused.

They made light work of the chase. Venkatesh Iyer hit 52 not out in 26 balls as victory was clinched after just 10.3 overs.

It was the third title for the franchise. Narine and Gambhir were part of the playing line-up for each of the first two, in 2012 and 2014.

While the West Indian all-rounder continues to excel on the field, Gambhir is now the brains off it. If this was an audition for him to be the next India coach, then it could scarcely have gone much better.

The duo had been perfectly in sync, according to a fellow member of Gambhir’s backroom team, Bharat Arun.

“[Narine] has brought a totally different dimension to our batting this year and it was Gautam who insisted Sunil opened,” Arun said. “That really paid off and I think what Sunil did was outstanding.”

The franchise’s other West Indian stalwart, Russell, said the victory was partly pay back for the faith Kolkata have shown in him over the years.

“It means so much,” Russell said. “With all the fans who have been supporting us right throughout from the start of this season, we as players have been trying to go out there and make sure we get the job done.

“It is the first time we are celebrating a victory and I think it is the right moment. We are very disciplined and just want the same goal.

“This franchise have done so much for me, helping me with my fitness and everything. This is a big gift from us to them.”

Updated: May 26, 2024, 6:25 PM