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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

IPL 2024: Rahmanullah Gurbaz to Andre Russell, trophy triumph seeped in emotions

It was perhaps the most impactful and dominant performance any team had dished out in an IPL final. Sunrisers Hyderabad lost way from the moment they lost their openers in the first two overs

Indranil Majumdar Chennai Published 27.05.24, 07:58 AM
(l-r) Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell celebrates after taking the wicket of Aiden Markram. Shah Rukh Khan with Man of the Match of the final, Mitchell Starc

(l-r) Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell celebrates after taking the wicket of Aiden Markram. Shah Rukh Khan with Man of the Match of the final, Mitchell Starc PTI

Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer had merely completed the winning run when the Kolkata Knight Riders players made a dash to the middle from the dugout.

It was perhaps the most impactful and dominant performance any team had dished out in an IPL final. Sunrisers Hyderabad lost way from the moment they lost their openers in the first two overs.

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On a wicket which offered pace and carry, Mitchell Starc laid the Sunrisers low with two wickets in the Powerplay overs. Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana also proved equal to the task in helpful conditions.

If there was any hint of nerves in the KKR ranks, Starc quashed it in the bud which allowed KKR to ride the momentum on way to their third title.

It was not just about Starc, Varun Chakravarthy or Sunil Narine's bowling which made this triumph possible, but also how Arora and Harshit had lived up to the task making use of the opportunities that came their way.

"My role was to take wickets with the new ball... we have very good spinners, so if we chipped in with 2/3 wickets, the spinners could do the rest," Arora said.

The plot unfolded in a much similar fashion on Sunday. Once Starc, Arora and Harshit had delivered the early blows, Varun and Narine never let Sunrisers off the hook.

Next it was the turn of the batters to make sure that nothing came in the way of their 114-run target. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Venkatesh Iyer just blasted the Sunrisers attack, never allowing them to settle into a line.

"No words to describe this feeling," said an emotional Andre Russell. "It means so much. I am happy that all of us were very disciplined and worked towards one goal. This franchise has done a lot for me. It's a big gift from all of us to them."

Gurbaz remembered his ailing mother who was back home in Afghanistan. The opener rushed to join the team on the advice of his mother once Phil Salt returned home.

"I think she will be watching, she is okay now. Before the match, I spoke to my mom... I asked what do you want, she said, 'nothing, just win'," Gurbaz said.

"Salty played really well and my expectation was as the World Cup was coming, I wanted to prepare... I got it and I was well prepared. I'm lucky. When you work hard for two months and the result comes like this, it is special," the Afghanistan player said.

Venkatesh didn't forget to thank assistant coach Abhishek Nayar.

"Really happy, credit goes to Abhishek Nayar, all the credit in the world, the way he's worked for the franchise. Some contributions go unnoticed, I want to make sure they don't. He was the one who built this Indian core. We waited for 10 years, credit to the management and the coaching staff," Venkatesh said.

Last season's captain Nitish Rana recalled what mentor Gautam Gambhir told him when he congratulated him on his return to the franchise.

"When Gautibhai was appointed as the mentor I had messaged him and said I am very happy he's coming back to KKR.. but he said that he would be happier if we were on that podium lifting the trophy. Today is that day and I will never forget that message," Nitish said.

Be it Gambhir's Midas touch or the players hard work, the Knights are the deserving champions.

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