IPL 2021: Chennai Super Kings beat Kolkata Knight Riders in final to win fourth title

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Faf du Plessis plays a shot in the IPL finalFaf du Plessis hit a match-winning 86 off 59 balls
Indian Premier League final, Dubai
Chennai Super Kings 192-3 (20 overs): Du Plessis 86 (59); Moeen 37no (20); Narine 2-26
Kolkata Knight Riders 165-9 (20 overs): Gill 51 (43), Iyer 50 (32); Thakur 3-38, Hazlewood 2-29
Chennai Super Kings won by 27 runs
Scorecard, Table

Chennai Super Kings have been crowned Indian Premier League champions for the fourth time after beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final.

Faf du Plessis hit a terrific 86 off 59 balls and Moeen Ali scored a 20-ball 37 as Chennai posted 192-3 from 20 overs.

Shubman Gill (51 off 43) and Venkatesh Iyer (50 off 32) hit half-centuries before Kolkata collapsed, losing eight wickets for 34 runs in Dubai.

Captain Eoin Morgan managed just five as Kolkata reached 165-9.

Chennai, led by captain MS Dhoni, add another trophy to the cabinet, having won the IPL in 2010, 2011 and 2018.

They are one behind five-time winners Mumbai Indians and have also been runners-up on five occasions.

For two-time winners KKR, it is a disappointing end after a brilliant comeback in this year's competition.

KKR were second from bottom when the tournament resumed in the United Arab Emirates last month, after it was suspended in May because of a surge in coronavirus cases in India.

Match-winner Du Plessis & the race for the orange cap

Ruturaj Gaikwad finishes top run-scorer in IPL 2021 with 635 runs

It was a batting masterclass from Du Plessis, a performance which further raises question marks as to why the 37-year-old was not selected in South Africa's Twenty20 World Cup squad.

Du Plessis's knock included seven boundaries and three sixes as he showcased a repertoire of shots, from powerful blows down the ground to delightful timing which found the gaps.

Lockie Ferguson endured a torrid time at the hands of Du Plessis, the New Zealand left-arm fast bowler finishing with 0-56 from his four overs.

Du Plessis and fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad shared their own side plot during the Chennai innings.

At the start of the match, KL Rahul was the top run-scorer in this season's IPL with 626 runs, but both Du Plessis (547 runs) and Gaikwad (603 runs) were in the reckoning to overtake the Punjab Kings captain.

Gaikwad's 32 of 27 balls shot him to the top of the list and he looked set to take the coveted orange cap but Du Plessis had other ideas and, in the final ball of the innings, he needed two runs to dislodge his team-mate.

But Du Plessis was caught in the deep, falling short but ensuring a CSK one-two.

England's Moeen also unleashed some huge hits, including three sixes, while Robin Uthappa contributed an important 31 off 15 balls in a dominant CSK batting display.

Iyer & Gill get KKR off to fine start

Harshal Patel with 32 wickets leads the most wickets in IPL 2021

In the 2012 final, KKR chased 191 against CSK. In the 2014 final, they chased 200 against Kings XI Punjab.

Morgan's team would not go without a fight and in reply they reached 55-0 after the powerplay - five runs ahead of where Chennai were after six overs.

Iyer is arguably the find of this season's IPL and, once again, the 26-year-old played fearless cricket..

Drafted in by Kolkata when the tournament resumed last month, Iyer scored his fourth IPL half-century in just 10 innings and finishes with 370 runs at an average of 41.11.

At 88-0 after 10 overs, a close-finish was on the cards, but Shardul Thakur produced a fantastic over to dismiss Iyer and then Nitesh Rana for a golden duck.

Thakur was the clear standout bowler, taking 3-38 and finishing with 21 IPL wickets this year.

Sunil Narine was dismissed for two, Ravindra Jadeja - one of the finest fielders in world cricket - taking his second catch as KKR started to crumble.

Gill - who himself has scored 478 runs this campaign - reached his third half-century of the season, before he was out lbw to Deepak Chahar.

Morgan's disappointing IPL

The stage was set for Morgan - who came to the crease with his team needing 96 off 51 - to play the type of innings which has entertained England fans in recent years.

While his captaincy has been pivotal in KKR's comeback, Morgan has struggled with the bat and particularly since the resumption.

But he could only watch from the non-striker's end as Dinesh Karthik fell for nine, Shakib Al Hasan for a first-ball duck and Rahul Trapathi for two.

Morgan's night came to an end courtesy of a stunning catch from Chahar on the boundary.

Chahar had to fling the ball in the air as his momentum took him over the boundary rope, before jumping back into the field of play and taking the grab.

What next for Dhoni?

A tournament which started on 9 April in Chennai, India, finally comes to an end 190 days later in the UAE.

CSK celebrations will be shorter than usual with many of their stars joining their respective international teams for the T20 World Cup.

Focus is now likely to turn towards the future of captain Dhoni.

The 41-year-old has led the team to all of their trophy wins since the competition launched in 2008.

Amongst his personal achievements, Dhoni has played the most IPL matches by any player (230), is eight in the all-time list of highest run-scorers (4746).

There are suggestions he may play one last match - or season - in front of his home fans in Chennai, while others believe he may end on a high.

Whatever the outcome, his legacy of being one of - if not the - finest IPL players and captains of all time has been firmly cemented.

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