The Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title after victory in an enthralling final against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

A brilliant batting display led by Faf du Plessis's superb 86 saw MS Dhoni's men reach 192-3 in the first innings in Dubai.

KKR, who had won both of their previous IPL finals in 2012 and 2014, made a decent fight of a forlorn-looking chase but finished 27 runs short on 165-9.

Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), the top-scoring batsman of the IPL season, put up an opening stand of 61 before the latter was caught by Shivam Mari off a delivery from Sunil Narine (2-26).

Du Plessis was unperturbed, blunting the Knight Riders' attack with ruthless efficiency in a stellar knock. Robin Uthappa also scored 31 off just 15 balls before being trapped lbw and Moeen Ali kept up the impeccable standards with 37.

By the time Du Plessis was caught by Mari at long-on off the final ball of the innings, KKR's hopes were already looking slim, although they still mustered a creditable challenge.

Dhoni, in his 300th match as a captain in T20 cricket, dropped what looked a routine catch in the second over and Venkatesh Iyer took full advantage as he raced to a half-century.

It looked as though his stand with Shubman Gill (51) was finally over at 79-0 when Ambati Rayudu got a fine running catch, but Gill was granted a dead-ball reprieve after it struck one of the spider-cam cables on its way down.

Iyer was not so fortunate when he sent another ball from Shardul Thakur (3-38) high into the sky, Ravindra Jadeja grasping it in outstretched fingers as Kolkata's hopes took a major blow.

Du Plessis caught Nitish Rana for a first-ball duck and Narine holed out to Jadeja four deliveries later, as the middle order began to collapse.

Gill (51) was struck flush on the pad as he tried an ambitious scoop shot before Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Rahul Tripathi were out for 11 runs combined.

Captain Eoin Morgan fell five runs short of reaching 1,000 in the IPL, Deepak Chahar taking a brilliant boundary catch, as the party started among the yellow shirts in the stands long before the fireworks flared after the final ball.

 

Four-midables

The Super Kings have now beaten the Knight Riders in six of their past seven IPL meetings, including the previous four in a row.

This was their ninth final, at least three more than any other side has reached, but they had only won three of the previous eight and were beaten by Kolkata in the showpiece nine years ago.

Yet their batting display was of a quality worthy of champions, Du Plessis in particular showing power and poise as he hit seven fours and three sixes en route to a third IPL title with the franchise.

Luckless Lockie

Before this match, Kolkata had a bowling dot-ball figure of 40 per cent, the best of any side in the competition. Here, they had little answer to the Super Kings' batting excellence.

Lockie Ferguson endured an especially tough time, posting figures of 0-56 and giving up nine boundaries and two wide balls from just four overs.

Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris have all missed out on selection for South Africa's preliminary T20 World Cup squad but Keshav Maharaj is included despite having yet to make his international debut in the shortest format.

Du Plessis had retired from all other forms of cricket, with an eye on the World Cup, while all-rounder Morris also misses out on a squad where Temba Bavuma has been named captain.

World number-one ranked T20I bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, who has taken 24 wickets at an average of 12.2 in 2021, will operate as the main leg-spinner with veteran Tahir, who last appeared for his country in 2019, left out.

While the Proteas opted to leave out the experienced trio, they will have the likes of Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Aiden Markram to call upon, with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje the standout pace options.

And Victor Mpitsang, South Africa's convenor of selectors, feels the 15-man squad could challenge in October after crashing out in the group stages of the last T20 World Cup in 2016.

"There is no better time than now for us to bring home the trophy and bring the nation together in a way that only sport can," said Mpitsang. 

"We hope that South Africans will rally behind this team and cheer them all the way to the final."

Maharaj is perhaps the surprise inclusion having never played a T20I and only featuring 14 times in 50-over cricket, taking 19 wickets.

The left-arm off-spinner will captain in the absence of the injured Bavuma as the Proteas face Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series starting on Friday, a decision supported by Mpitsang.

"Kesh [Maharaj] is an excellent leader," said Mpitsang. "He has the backing of the team and us as a panel. 

"He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday.

"His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup."

South Africa start their World Cup campaign against Australia on October 23 before facing West Indies three days later.
 

South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen

Reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams.

Faf du Plessis struck his highest ever T20 score (120*) and first century of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as the Saint Lucia Kings recorded a commanding 100 run win over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to end their unbeaten run in this year’s tournament.

The Patriots won the toss and opted to put Saint Lucia Kings into bat, with the superb du Plessis batting through the whole innings as he recorded 120* off just 60 balls, supported by Roston Chase, who once again excelled with both the bat and ball.

The Patriots succumbed in their chase, bowled out for 124 despite some fireworks from Evin Lewis, but ultimately a disciplined bowling performance from the Kings won them the game. 

Saint Lucia Kings got off to a flying start as openers Andre Fletcher and Faf du Plessis ensured they batted through the Powerplay to reach 71-0. Despite losing the wickets of Fletcher and Keron Cottoy, the Kings built a mammoth total as du Plessis and Chase hit boundaries at will, contributing eight sixes between them.

The Patriots had a more restrained start as they began the chase; Devon Thomas fell to the bowling of Alzarri Joseph, with Chris Gayle following in the third over. Chase added pressure by bowling a maiden in the fourth over before Evin Lewis started to deliver some destructive shots, reaching his half century in just 25 balls. However, his 73 was in vain, as wickets tumbled, with Keemo Paul taking three wickets in the 16th over. 

Saint Lucia Kings now have six points and are firmly in contention for a play-off spot, while the Patriots remain top of the league.

Kieron Pollard was the hero as Mumbai Indians achieved the second-highest run chase in Indian Premier League history to beat Chennai Super Kings in a final-ball thriller.

All-rounder Pollard claimed 2-12 but Chennai posted 218-4 in their innings, with Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu all hitting half-centuries.

Rayudu top scored with a brutal 72 from just 27 deliveries after Moeen (58) and Du Plessis (50) had put on 108 for the second wicket.

However, the defending champions handed the Super Kings just a second loss of the 2021 season, reaching their target from the final delivery with four wickets to spare as Pollard accepted the responsibility of seeing his team over the line in astonishing fashion.

The West Indies international smashed eight sixes as he finished up unbeaten on 87 from just 34 balls. He hit the penultimate delivery of the contest for six off Lungi Ngidi, then managed to sneak through for the two runs required from the last.

Pollard was dropped by Du Plessis in the 18th over and that proved to be costly for leaders CSK in a dramatic contest at Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

Quinton de Kock (38) and Rohit Sharma (35) had put on 71 for the first wicket in 7.4 overs, but the openers were dismissed by Moeen and Shardul Thakur respectively before the halfway point of the run chase.

Pollard stepped forward to pull off Mumbai's highest chase, though, with the Indians taking 48 runs off the last three overs to move just two points behind CSK in fourth place.

 

Bumrah toils as Super Kings prosper

Chennai endured a mid-innings wobble – slipping from 112-1 to 116-4 after losing two wickets in as many balls in a Pollard over - but Rayudu's onslaught carried them well beyond the 200 barrier.

Jasprit Bumrah was one of the bowlers who suffered the most. The India international finished with figures of 1-56 from his four overs, the highest number of runs he has conceded in the format. 

Powerhouse Pollard completes record chase

Mumbai were 81-3 in the 10th over when Pollard arrived at the crease to produce an incredible display of clean striking, racing to a 17-ball half-century.

Sam Curran removed Hardik Pandya and Jimmy Neesham in the penultimate over after the England all-rounder had trapped Krunal Pandya leg before. However, it was not enough for Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings once again got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, recording a seventh win in nine meetings by easily chasing down a target of 172.

Ruturaj Gaikwad made 75 - his highest IPL score - and the in-form Faf du Plessis contributed 56 as Chennai triumphed with seven wickets and nine balls to spare at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rashid Khan (3-36) was the only successful Hyderabad bowler, though even the leg-spinner was not spared from punishment. With a fifth successive win, the Super Kings move above Royal Challengers Bangalore to top of the table.

Hyderabad, in contrast, prop up the rest in the standings; winning the toss was about the only thing that went right for them.

Captain David Warner laboured to 57 from 55 balls and Manish Pandey finished as his team's leading scorer with 61, helping add 106 in combination with his skipper for the second wicket.

However, after Lungi Ngidi (2-35) removed both well-set batsmen, Kane Williamson finally provided some much-needed impetus in the closing overs.

The New Zealand captain hit 26 from the 10 deliveries he faced, raising the question as to why he did not come in earlier in the innings. Kedar Jadhav (12 not out) also contributed a late cameo, though a final score of 171-3 always appeared below par.


Warner signs not good

Warner now has 193 runs at an average of 32.16 in the tournament this year, while the left-hander reached the notable personal milestone of 10,000 in his first-class career in the shortest format.

Still, his strike-rate of 110.28 runs per 100 deliveries in 2021 is well below his IPL career mark of 140.13. The skipper's frustration was obvious in this innings, as he struggled to pierce the field, albeit he did manage three fours and a pair of sixes.

Openers dominate in chase

Having seen Hyderabad struggle for momentum, Chennai made sure they did not have similar issues in their reply. Gaikwad recorded his fifth IPL half-century thanks to 12 boundaries and Du Plessis played his part in an opening stand worth 129 to take over as the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

While Rashid dismissed the pair – as well as getting Moeen Ali caught for 15 in the deep – Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, who finished unbeaten on seven and 17 respectively, made sure their team cruised over the line in the penultimate over.

Deepak Chahar produced career-best Indian Premier League figures to inspire Chennai Super Kings to a dominant victory over Punjab Kings.

Making his 50th appearance in the competition, Chahar helped ensure Punjab's innings never got going as they were restricted to 106-8.

He finished with 4-13 from four overs, including one maiden, Punjab never getting to grips with a challenging surface in Mumbai.

Faf du Plessis (36 not out) and Moeen Ali (46) combined for 66 to help CSK ease to their target with 26 balls to spare, winning by six wickets.

Mayank Agarwal went for a two-ball duck to Chahar in the opening over, misjudging a wondrous delivery that pinged the top off-stump.

A direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja saw KL Rahul run out before the West Indian pair of Chris Gayle (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) each fell to Chahar before the end of the powerplay.

Deepak Hooda tamely chipped to mid-off for Chahar's fourth wicket, leaving Punjab on 26-5 in the seventh over.

Shahrukh Khan's 36-ball 47, which included two sixes, at least made sure Punjab had something to defend, but a lack of support from the lower order meant the target was always one well within CSK's grasp.

Moeen and Du Plessis extinguished any hopes of Punjab claiming an unlikely win, their second-wicket stand allowing the Super Kings to coast to victory despite a 15th-over blitz from Mohammed Shami that saw Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu dismissed.

Chahar makes mark on landmark appearance

Chahar let out a huge roar when he castled Agarwal and he had every right to do so after producing a delivery that nipped away from middle stump to deceive the opener.

The subsequent dismissals owed more to a fine catch from Jadeja to get rid of Gayle and batting errors from Pooran and Hooda, but nothing should be taken away from Chahar after he tilted the game firmly in CSK's favour.

Moeen gets things moving

Moeen and Du Plessis showed Punjab how to bat on the surface with an excellent partnership, the England all-rounder's 46 coming off 31 deliveries, his strike rate of 148.38 the best in the contest.

He recorded seven fours and one maximum, with Du Plessis' sole six coming off a scoop shot in the fourth over. The South African was still in at the end when Sam Curran wrapped things up after a brief wobble.

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