Kolkata thrash Hyderabad to win IPL title for third time

Kolkata thrash Hyderabad to win IPL title for third time

Kolkata players celebrate with the trophy after winning the IPL final cricket match against Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on May 26. (Photo: Getty Images)

Vivek Mishra

Mitchell Starc bowled a decisive opening spell, leading Kolkata Knight Riders to their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title with an eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final on Sunday.

Kolkata bowled out Hyderabad for 113, the lowest total in an IPL final. Australia’s left-arm fast bowler Starc returned figures of 2-14, fulfilling his high expectations in the T20 tournament.

Starc, acquired by Kolkata for $2.98 million in the December auction, delivered two strong performances in the IPL. He also took 3-34 in the first playoff, helping to defeat the same opponent.

Kolkata’s batsmen had a straightforward chase. Despite Sunil Narine’s early dismissal, Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 39, and Venkatesh Iyer remained unbeaten on 52. Their 91-run partnership ensured victory with 9.3 overs to spare.

Iyer reached his half-century in 24 balls and hit the winning runs, sparking celebrations for Kolkata, who finished top of the league table with 20 points. Skipper Shreyas Iyer was unbeaten on six when the team celebrated their victory on the pitch.

“My mom is watching from home,” said Afghanistan’s Gurbaz, who left the tournament midway to be with his ailing mother and returned for the playoffs. “She is feeling good now. I asked mom before the match if she wanted anything. She said just the win.”

“This win is for the fans who turned up year after year and waited for ten years,” said Venkatesh Iyer on the team’s first title win since 2014.

Kolkata’s co-owner and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan attended the match and congratulated the players after recovering from a heat-related illness in the first qualifier in Ahmedabad.

It was Kolkata’s second title at the venue, following their first win in 2012. A near-capacity crowd of 36,000 cheered them on.

In addition to signing Starc, Kolkata brought on Gautam Gambhir as a mentor. Gambhir had previously led the team to two titles.

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Hyderabad skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and chose to bat first. Cummins, acquired for $2.5 million, became captain after leading Australia to titles in the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup last year.

Starc took the spotlight early, bowling Indian batsman Abhishek Sharma for two in his first over. Travis Head was caught behind for his second duck in three matches off Vaibhav Arora’s bowling.

Starc struck again, leaving Hyderabad’s top order in trouble at 47-4 inside seven overs. Andre Russell dismissed Aiden Markram for 20, and wickets continued to fall. Heinrich Klaasen was out for 16.

Cummins, dropped on 10 by Starc, pushed the team past 100 before falling for 24 off Russell, who finished with figures of 3-19.