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Mitchell Starc leads Kolkata Knight Riders into IPL Final

Cricket news

One half of the 2024 IPL Final has been found, with the Kolkata Knight Riders blowing away Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday evening to book their spot in Sunday’s decider.

The Knight Riders, who finished top of the table after 14 matches in the star-studded T20 league, carried on their impressive form in Qualifier 1.

The victory was as dominant as knockout cricket comes. First Hyderabad fell for 159 all out, before Kolkata chased the total down in under 14 overs for the loss of just two wickets.

Kolkata are now one win away from their first IPL title in 10 years.

For Sunrisers Hyderabad, they will need to take the scenic route if they’re to lift a second IPL trophy. They’ll face the winner of Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bengaluru, who play on Wednesday night, for a spot in the final against Kolkata.

Starc, Iyers star in one-sided result

No team has scored more runs this season than Sunrisers, yet bookmakers weren’t giving them much of a chance against the Knight Riders.

When it mattered, however, their batting lineup failed to deliver.

Travis Head, the league’s third-highest runscorer in 2024, fell for a second-ball duck. Sooner after, Abhishek Sharam followed for just three inside the first two overs.

The searing pace of left-armer Mitchell Starc was simply too much for Sunrisers to handle. The Aussie tore through Hyderabad’s top order, claiming three of the top five batsmen and leaving the team floundering at 39/4 before the powerplay was complete.

While Rahul Tripathi put up a valiant resistance with 55 from 35, all his side could manage was 159 all out from 19.3 overs. This was a far cry from the totals of 287/3 and 277/3 Hyderabad had posted earlier in the year.

In response, Kolkata were ruthless. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sunil Narine came out swinging from the get-go, each producing handy cameos that had Kolkata scoring at well over 10 runs an over across the powerplay.

When they both fell, two Iyers — Venkatesh and Shreyas — took up the mantle. Both made blistering half-centuries, finishing on 51 (28) and 58 (24) respectively, as the Knight Riders chased down Hyderabad’s total with more than six overs to spare.

Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru up next

Next up, the third- and fourth-placed finishers in the IPL standings will face off in the Eliminator.

One team will survive, and earn the opportunity to play Sunrisers for a spot in the final. The other will have their season ended.

The top cricket bookmakers are favouring the Royal Challengers in this one, despite their lower ranking on the table. Rajasthan come into this match on a six-match winning streak, having found form at the perfect time to scrap into the post-season.

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