The grand finale of IPL always gets the adrenaline pumping. The thrill of the fast-paced T20 game, the clash of the fans, and the emotions of fantasy cricket culminate in a crescendo that makes all other tournaments look pale in comparison. The final match of IPL 2021 lived up to the expectations when CSK went head-to-head against KKR on October 15, 2021, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. The match was a roller-coaster ride and kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.
The pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium favors the pace bowlers and makes it difficult for the batsmen to time the ball well. More teams have won here by chasing the score as against setting the target. It must have been a game half won by KKR when they won the toss and elected wisely to field. But in the game of cricket, stats and trends can go haywire very fast.
CSK started decently with the opening pair Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. They set a good start with an impressive run rate. Ruturaj knocked three boundaries and one six while Faf du Plessis supported him on an equal footing with boundaries. Even after Ruturaj’s wicket had fallen, Du Plessis kept the run rate up with boundaries and sixes coming off his bat. Robin Uthappa came one down and supported Du Plessis spectacularly in his endeavor to decimate the KKR bowling attack. The duo was on fire when Narine struck again by getting Uthappa out LBW. Moeen Ali, who came to bat after Uthappa finished the innings with Du Plessis. CSK set an impressive target of 193 runs for KKR.
Contrary to the CSK innings, the KKR innings stood on the edifice of openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. As soon as these pillars fell, the KKR deck fell like a stack of cards. Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer got KKR out to a good start with a partnership of around 100 runs in the first 9 overs. It looked like KKR was the star of the party when CSK gained control of the game. Both Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer fell one after the other within a gap of one over. The rest of the line-up made a total of 64 runs. The middle-order batsmen were sent packing by CSK quickly. The pressure of the high target got to the players, and six more wickets fell within the next four overs. The only silver lining was a brief stint of 38 runs by tail-enders Lockie Ferguson and Shivam Mavi. CSK contained KKR to 165 runs in 20 overs. The luck of winning the toss had come undone in the IPL Final.
If it weren’t for the avalanche of wickets in the KKR innings, the match would have been a great finale. However, the match was a spectacle with a high target, two great teams, the fans, and the thrill of T20 cricket. KKR tried their best but were under pressure chasing a huge target. CSK demonstrated what a well-rounded team could do in the IPL. CSK had dominated this game from the start like true champions.