'We've played like invincibles' - Kolkata win IPL


Kolkata Knight Riders' previous IPL titles came in 2012 and 2014. GETTY IMAGES

By Sam DruryBBC Sport journalist, May 27: Kolkata Knight Riders won the Indian Premier League after a thumping eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final.

Mitchell Starc set the tone for a brilliant KKR performance when he bowled Sunrisers opener Abhishek Sharma with a beauty in the first over.

Sunrisers never recovered and were bowled out for 113, the lowest total in an IPL final.

Every KKR bowler took a wicket with Andre Russell claiming 3-19 and Starc and Harshit Rana getting two apiece.

Venkatesh Iyer then blitzed an unbeaten 52 from 26 balls in a stand of 91 with Rahmanullah Gurbaz as Shreyas Iyer's side raced to their target in 10.3 overs.

Having finished top of the group, victory in Chennai secures a third IPL title for KKR and their first since 2014.

Sunrisers, led by Australia captain Pat Cummins, must wait another year to try and add to their solitary IPL triumph in 2016.

"It was comprehensive today. This is what we demanded from the team and every individual and they stood up," said KKR captain Shreyas Iyer.

"It’s hard to describe what we are feeling right now. We’ve played like invincibles throughout the season and there is so much to cherish right now."

Unfancied KKR seal title in style

When this year's IPL began a little over two months ago, few were predicting that KKR and Sunrisers would be contesting the final.

Sunrisers had appointed Cummins captain, his first time skippering a side in T20 cricket, while KKR's decision to pay a record 24.75 crore Indian rupees (£2.3m) for Starc was also being questioned.

The Australian left-armer had not featured in the IPL since 2015 and when he went wicketless in three of his first four games - recording figures of 0-53, 0-47 and 0-29 - the questions only got louder.

KKR were still winning, though, with England opener Phil Salt impressing at the top of the order before he departed, and as the tournament progressed, Starc provided an answer.

The 34-year-old added an exclamation point with the fifth ball of the final - a fast, late-swinging delivery that whistled past Abhishek to clip off stump.

By the time he took his second of a superb opening spell, Vaibhav Arora had removed Travis Head's first ball and Sunrisers were in trouble at 21-3.

Any attempts to counter-attack were swiftly shut down by a relentless KKR bowling unit and, despite their heroics through the competition, Sunrisers' hopes appeared over at the halfway stage.

Cummins removed Sunil Narine early in the chase but Venkatesh went four, six, six to start his next over and by the time the powerplay was over, so was the contest.

'It means so much' - what they said

More from Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer: "The performances have been flawless throughout. I am running out of words - we’ve been tremendous from game one. "Every individual stepped up at the right time. There is no individual who has taken us to this position, it has been a cumulative effort."

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Pat Cummins: "They bowled fantastically and unfortunately my old mate Starcy [Mitchell Starc] turned it on again. We were totally outplayed.

"I’ve loved how brave our guys were this season in a high-pressure environment like the IPL. We took the game on and the fans seemed to enjoy it back in Hyderabad. It was a great season."

Player of the match, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Mitchell Starc: "It is a great night for KKR. What a game, what a series, what a season. It was the two most exciting sides in the final.

"It was an upward journey throughout the IPL but we’ve had a fantastic squad of players and staff to get everyone peaking for the backend of the tournament. We’ve been such a consistent side, we haven’t had one or two people stand out, but there have been contributions from everyone.

"It’s been a long time since I’ve played in the IPL and I’m a lot more experienced now and that has definitely helped with managing all the expectations and leading the attack."

Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Andre Russell: "I don't have the words to explain right now. It means so much with all the fans supporting us throughout since the start of the season and we as the players going game after game and getting the job done.

"This franchise has done so much for me, helping with my fitness. This is a big gift to all of them, I'm so happy."

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