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IPL 2024: KKR played like ‘invincibles’ throughout the season, says skipper Shreyas Iyer

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Shillong, May 27: Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) skipper Shreyas Iyer lauded his side for playing “like invincibles throughout the season” after a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL 2024 summit clash to lift their third title, ending a decade-long wait.

 

“This is what we demanded from the team and every individual, they stood up on the right occasion,” Iyer said after the final. “It is hard to express how we are feeling right now. The wait was so long. We played like invincibles throughout the season. There is so much to cherish right now.”

 

KKR’s bowlers, led by stellar spells from Andre Russell (3-19), Mitchell Starc (2-14) & Harshit Rana (2-24), bowled out SRH for just 113, the lowest total in an IPL final. In reply, the batters, led by Venkatesh Iyer’s 52 not out off 26 balls, chased down the total in just 10.3 overs to make it the second time the side won an IPL title in Chennai.

 

KKR’s 2024 campaign was one of the most dominant in IPL history, equaling the record for the fewest losses in a season, set by Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals in 2008, with just three defeats. Topping the league table, KKR beat SRH in Qualifier 1 by eight wickets with 38 balls to spare, and upped their game in the final with another eight-wicket victory, this time with 57 balls remaining.

 

“It is pleasing and the performance has been flawless throughout. I am running out of words right now. We have been tremendous right from game one, and when we stepped [out], all we demanded from ourselves was to back each other no matter the situation,” Iyer said of KKR’s campaign.

 

“The game could have gone either way – they have been playing phenomenal cricket, SRH, throughout the season. Today, we were lucky enough to bowl first and, at the same time, every situation went in our favour. Thanks to SRH (for) the way they have played throughout the season. They have been simply phenomenal,” he added.

 

The final saw KKR dominate from the outset, starting with Mitchell Starc’s stunning dismissal of Abhishek Sharma with a ball that pitched on middle and leg and zipped past the outside edge to hit off stump. This wicket initiated a collapse; Vaibhav Arora removed Travis Head for a first-ball duck with an excellent away-swinger, and Starc struck again to dismiss Rahul Tripathi, leaving SRH at 21 for 3 inside five overs.

 

“That (big games) is when all the big players stand up,” Iyer said of Starc. “It was a high-pressure game. He has been so good off the field. He has never shown any sort of complacency in his work ethic. Every time we used to go for the plunge pool, he used to be there… something for everyone to learn.”

 

Starc’s performance in the playoffs was pivotal. Despite a rough start to the season, where he conceded 100 runs in his first two games without taking a wicket, Starc rebounded to become the Player of the Match in both of KKR’s playoff games, a first in IPL history.

 

Another standout performer was Andre Russell, who picked up 3 for 19 in 2.3 overs in the final, ending the season with his best wicket tally at the IPL. “He has got that magic wand, which he is hiding somewhere on the field. Russell has been lucky for us. Almost in a majority of the games, whenever he has bowled, he has picked up the wickets and he has given us the breakthrough,” he said. (IANS)

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