Josh Hazlewood has led the Chennai Super Kings to their fourth IPL title with a comprehensive win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final in Dubai.
It was a first IPL championship for the Australian paceman, who took the key wickets of Sunil Narine and Eoin Morgan as the Super Kings won by 27 runs.
Hazlewood finished with 2-29 off his four overs.
“It’s awesome to be a part of it,” the tall strike bowler said. “I have learned heaps.
“We have such a senior team here, especially in the bowling group. Just playing T20 games in a row, hopefully learning throughout and trying to put it all together in the final.”
For captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was playing his 300th game as a T20 captain, victory marked a remarkable turnaround after last year’s poor season.
“We had match winners coming game after game,” Dhoni said.
This was Chennai’s ninth final and the veteran added: “Every final is special. If you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final, too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts.”
KKR had won seven of nine games to reach the final after a poor start to the campaign, and skipper Morgan said he was proud of the fight shown.
“The guys fought incredibly hard and performed. (Venkatesh) Iyer and (Shubman) Gill have been outstanding. They have been the cornerstone of our batting.”
Having been put in to bat, Chennai scored 3-192 with Faf du Plessis out on the last ball of the innings for a superb 86. The South African should have been stumped, however, for single figures in the 13th ball of the innings.
There was strong support for du Plessis from Ruturaj Gaikwad, whose 32 made him the tournament’s leading runscorer.
Robin Uthappa (31 off 15 balls) and Moeen Ali (37 not out off 20 balls), who became the first English player to win an IPL final, also contributed.
Narine, who took 2-26 from four overs, was again the pick of the bowlers.
Needing nearly 10 per over, Kolkata began well with a 91-run opening stand. They rode their luck with Iyer dropped before he had scored by MS Dhoni off Hazlewood’s third ball. Gill also escaped, from a sharp chance off Hazlewood’s seventh ball.
Gill had another life when he was caught in the deep at 79-0 only for the delivery to be ruled a dead ball as Gill’s shot had hit the wire carrying the spider-cam.
The breakthrough was made by Shardul Thakur, Ravi Jadeja taking a fine catch to dismiss Iyer for a 32-ball 50. Nitesh Rana and Narine perished quickly and when Gill was lbw to Deepak Chadar for 51, off 43 balls, KKR were in trouble.
The middle-order continued to collapse and at 8-125 it was all over. Shivam Mavi (20) and Lockie Ferguson (17 not out) thrashed some late runs to take KKR to 9-165, but Chennai fans were already celebrating.
Hazelwood will remain in the United Arab Emirates for the T20 World Cup.
“I’ve a little bit of downtime over the next week, then jump straight into the World Cup.
“It’s been perfect preparation really, to take wickets and play on this ground against high-quality opposition, so I am looking forward to it.”