Venkatesh Iyer ran towards the other end of the crease, arms outstretched. Shreyas Iyer did the same en route to the other end of the crease to complete the run. And with it, the Kolkata Knight Riders had won their third Indian Premier League title.

That was not, however, the first time a player in the Kolkata purple ran and celebrated, with arms wide open, at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. The festivities, in fact, had already begun in the first innings.

Put out to bowl first, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling unit tormented the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final. A team that set a new IPL record for highest score in an innings was sent packing for 113, after 18.3 overs by the Kolkata bowlers.

It was a small target, one that the Knight Riders chased down with 57 balls to spare in a memorable eight wicket win.

But it wasn’t just only on Sunday that the Knight Riders proved to be the better team. They have shown throughout the season how strong and well-oiled a unit they are. The openers have fired, the middle order has been effective, and the bowlers shown the stomach for a fight in what has been a season where the batters have dominated.

It is a combination that helped them finish at the top of the table during the group stage.

Watching each and every move from the sidelines was Gautam Gambhir, who had captained the Knight Riders to their titles in 2012 and 2014, and returned as a mentor this year as they captured their third win.

On Sunday, the performance was just as strong as it had been throughout the season.

Mitchell Starc, the league’s most expensive player ever, picked up two important wickets to set the tone for the match.

Vaibhav Arora took the important wicket of Travis Head, while Harshit Rana struck twice and Andre Russell picked up three important wickets. And then came the demoralizing spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.

Eventually, captain Shreyas Iyer used six different bowlers, and all of them picked up wickets to restrict the Sunrisers to a below par total.

In the run chase, though Narine was dismissed early, Venkatesh Iyer scored a powerful 52 off 26, which included four boundaries and three sixes, while Rahmanullah Gurbaz also contributed with a commendable 39 off 32.

It was a performance that ensured the Knight Riders chased down the lowest total in an IPL final without much fuss.

Venkatesh Iyer (L) and Shreyas Iyer complete the winning run for the Kolkata Knight Riders | Credit: R Satish BABU / AFP

Turning point of the match

The good-length delivery pitched on line and looked like it may sneak down the legside. Abhishek Sharma adjusted accordingly, but then it started to swing outside. The batter tried to adjust again, but the pace and swing did him in, as the ball clipped the top of the off stump.

That beautiful delivery by Mitchell Starc gave the Kolkata Knight Riders their first wicket of the match – that too of a talented youngster who had been playing explosive batting strokes throughout the season.

In the second over, Vaibhav Arora got the better of the ever-dangerous Travis Head.

Suddenly, in the first two overs, with only six runs on the board, Sunrisers Hyderabad had lost both their openers – a pair that had helped them get a good start several times during their run to the final.

Hyderabad could not recover from those early wickets, while the Kolkata bowlers started to apply more pressure to set the tone in the first innings.

The Field’s player of the match

The Sunrisers Hyderabad were in a tough spot by the time Russell had come into bowl. But on the Jamaican all-rounder’s second delivery, Aiden Markram handed Starc a straight-forward catch.

At that point, Markram had started to settle at the crease, and the South African’s dismissal added more pressure on the Hyderabad batters.

Later on he was brought into the attack again and struck by getting Impact Player Abdul Samad to edge one back to the wicketkeeper Gurbaz. In the 19th over, he got his third wicket – Hyderbad’s highest scorer on the night, Pat Cummins – which ended the Hyderabad innings.

Eventually, Russell finished with figures of 3/19 in 2.3 overs.

‘I’m in a better space’

Since he first played for the franchise, Russell has been an important player for the team. His form had dipped a bit over the past few years, but there was an upswing to his performances this season, especially with the ball in the final.

“We all know how important this game is. As big players, we all [stood] up tonight. I’m very happy with my own bowling and how everyone has been bowling. We’ve been disciplined, and we’ve been bowling [according] to the plans.

“My fitness is a big part of [me doing well]. But mentally, I’m in a better space. I was mentally down for the last few years. But at the end of the day, I’m a strong player and I have to stand firm. I’m in a better stage, my body is feeling very good. I’m happy and I want to stay like this for another couple of years.”