ANI Photo | Venkatesh Iyer: Kolkata Knight Riders’ ‘Clutch Chief’ in knockout stages

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer played a crucial role in his side’s third Indian Premier League (IPL) title win with an unbeaten half-century against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Chennai’s Chepauk Stadium on Sunday
Continuing his fine show in the knockout stages of the IPL, Venkatesh in the final scored 52* in 26 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes, with strike rate of 200.00 accelerating KKR’s easy run chase of 114 runs and ending it within the first half of the innings itself.
Iyer has a fine record in the IPL playoffs with KKR. In the eliminator of 2021 against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB), Iyer scored 26 runs in 30 balls, helping KKR win. In the qualifier second against Delhi Capitals (DC) and the final against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Iyer scored 55 in 41 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes and a knock of 50 in 32 balls, with five fours and three sixes. However, KKR lost to CSK in the final by 27 runs.
In five knockout stage matches, Iyer has scored 232 runs at an average of 77.33 and four fifties, with the best score of 55. Only CSK star Suresh Raina has scored more fifty-plus scores (a total of seven) in the IPL knockouts stages.
Now in this IPL final, he has scored a match-winning 52* in 26 balls.
This is also Iyer’s fourth-successive fifty-plus scores in IPL playoffs/knockouts, surpassing three by Lendl Simmons of Mumbai Indians (MI).
The official handle of KKR acknowledged Venkatesh’s playoff heroics, tweeting, “THE ONLY PLAYER IN #TATA IPL HISTORY TO SCORE 4 CONSECUTIVE 50s IN THE PLAYOFFS – VENKATESH IYER. ACKNOWLEDGE THE CLUTCH CHIEF!.”

In this IPL season for KKR, Iyer scored 370 runs in 13 innings at an average of 46.25 and a strike rate of over 158, with four half-centuries and best score of 70.
Coming to the match, SRH won the toss and elected to bat first. KKR rocked SRH with continuous wickets, with the big buy Mitchell Starc justifying his Rs 24.75 crore price tag. Only skipper Pat Cummins (24 in 19 balls, with two fours and a six) and Aiden Markram (20 in 23 balls, with three fours) touched the 20-run mark and SRH was bundled out for 113 in 18.3 overs.
Andre Russell (3/19) was the top bowler for KKR. Starc (2/14) and Harshit Rana (2/24) also contributed well with the ball. Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Vaibhav Arora took a wicket each.
KKR pulled off the run-chase of 114 runs in just 10.3 overs with eight wickets in hand, with Venkatesh Iyer (52* in 26 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (39 in 32 balls, with five fours and two sixes) shining for KKR. (ANI)

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