Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

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.

Eoin Morgan hailed the pressure-free environment Kolkata Knight Riders have created after his side sneaked past Delhi Capitals to reach the Indian Premier League final.

The Knight Riders limited Rishabh Pant's side to 135-5 and seemed certain for victory after a 96-opening run stand from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.

However, a flurry of late wickets left Kolkata requiring seven to win off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over to secure their final berth and maintain their perfect chasing record since the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Rahul Tripathi stood up to the task, blasting Ashwin's fourth ball for six after the off-spinner had removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 130-7.

And Morgan cited Wednesday's qualifier clash as an example of the freedom of expression that the Knight Riders' culture has created.

"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky [Venkatesh Iyer] and [Shubman] Gill set us the platform," Morgan said at the post-match presentations.

"But we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Six off two [in the final over], the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us.

"It's a nice insight into our team culture. The young guys coming in are feeling free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this."

Iyer was bumped up the order after the coronavirus-enforced delay and the two-time IPL champions have since won seven out of nine matches – winning four games in a row for the first time since the 2018 edition of the tournament.

However, Morgan refused to take credit for the top-order alteration as Iyer continues to thrive, blasting 320 runs in the competition across nine matches at an average of 40.

"The Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, he's a terrific player," England and KKR's captain continued. "He made the chase easy, it looked like he was batting on a different wicket.

"With the squad we have, there's expectation. We would like to keep going and we are playing against Chennai Super Kings – one of the best franchises in IPL history – but anything can happen."

Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the Indian Premier League final with a last-gasp three-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.

Eoin Morgan's side limited the Capitals to 135-5 from their 20-over allocation as Varun Chakravarthy (2-26) was ably supported by Lockie Ferguson (1-26) and Shivam Mavi (1-27).

Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Shreyas Iyer (30 not out) were the pick of the batsmen but the Capitals were left facing an uphill battle, knowing Kolkata had won on all five occasions they have chased following the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer then got the Knight Riders off to a flyer, forming a 96-run opening partnership as the former raced to a 38-ball half-century before falling to Kagiso Rabada (2-23).

The Capitals, who are the only side to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, managed to remove Nitish Rana (13) and Gill through Anrich Nortje (2-31) and Avesh Khan (1-22) respectively to leave the score at 125 after 16.4 overs.

Rabada knocked over experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik (0) to further hamper the chase and when Morgan (0) followed in the same manner to Nortje, seven runs were required off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over.

Ashwin (2-27) conceded just one off his first two balls, removing Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with his following two, before Rahul Tripathi (12 not out) smashed a maximum to collect the Knight Riders' seventh win in their last nine matches with just one ball to spare.

The win means Morgan's team will meet MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in Friday's final as the Capitals fell before the showpiece once more.

Classy Chakravarthy

Chakravarthy may have overstepped and offered Shimron Heytmer a lifeline on just two, however, the Kolkata bowler escaped without too much punishment as the West Indian mustered just 15 more runs.

The 30-year-old was the only Knight Riders bowler to not concede a single maximum, delivering seven dot balls in an economical spell through the middle overs.

Nervy Narine

Narine was the man of the hour against the Royal Challengers Bangalore as he took 4-21 and blasted a 15-ball 26, but he failed to back up that heroic performance.

The KKR off-spinner went wicketless in his four-over allocation, conceding 27 runs before falling for a first-ball duck as he looked to launch his side to victory.

Sunil Narine played an inspirational role with the ball and then provided a boost with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with two balls remaining to move to within one match of their first Indian Premier League final since 2014.

First, Narine (4-21) was essential in ensuring Bangalore could only set a modest target of 138 runs as he took a match-high four wickets, and then his arrival at the crease provided KKR with direction at just the right time as they ultimately reached 139-6.

Delhi Capitals await in the next round as they prepare to tussle for the right to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, marking an incredible turnaround in KKR's fortunes after winning only two of their first seven matches prior to the season's suspension in May.

Bangalore had initially looked in good shape as Virat Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) helped them to 49-0 after five overs, before the latter went to Lockie Ferguson at the start of the sixth.

They did not lose another wicket until Narine's first over in the 10th as he tempted Srikar Bharat to pick out Venkatesh Iyer. The same man then accounted for captain Kohli, who misjudged a delivery when going for a slog sweep, AB de Villiers (11) and Glenn Maxwell (15) to put KKR in complete control.

Shubman Gill (29) started the chase well, but KKR hit something of a rut and were 79-3 through 11 overs when Narine came in to again turn the tide.

Three sixes from the first three legal deliveries he faced on his way to 26 set KKR on course, even if RCB forced an intriguing finish when Mohammed Siraj claimed Narine and then Dinesh Karthik (10) in the 18th over.

Seven from Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan off four balls in the final over got the job done.

 

Narine the double threat

This was a wonderful showing from Narine, further highlighting the surprising nature of his omission from the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. His four wickets were twice as many as anyone else, while RCB only took 21 runs from his deliveries. He then gave KKR the kick up the backside that they needed with the bat, initially getting 23 runs from just nine balls.

Christian taken for a ride

The main difference between these sides on the day, and Kohli accepted as much afterwards, was the bowling. Dan Christian may have only bowled 1.4 overs, but that was an exceptionally expensive cameo, costing 29 runs, the joint-most of the RCB bowlers.

MS Dhoni produced an inspired final over as Chennai Super Kings defeated Delhi Capitals by four wickets in Dubai to book their place in the 2021 Indian Premier League final.

With CSK chasing 13 from the last six balls to snatch victory, the skipper hit three successive boundaries to book his side's place in the showpiece for a ninth time.

The three-time IPL winners arrived in Qualifier 1 at the Dubai International Stadium having lost each of their previous four meetings with the Capitals.

Table-toppers during the league stage, Prithvi Shaw (60) and skipper Rishabh Pant (51) led the way as the Capitals set a target of 172-5.

CSK surrendered top spot in the table after losing each of their final three matches of the regular season.

But despite losing Faf du Plessis for just one run, Ruturaj Gaikwad hit an impressive 70 from 50 balls – surpassing 600 for the season – while Robin Uthappa made further strides with a knock of 63.

It came down to the final over, which began with Moeen Ali caught out by Kagiso Rabada as Tom Curran claimed his third wicket from five deliveries.

But with Dhoni on strike, CSK did not look back; the veteran hitting three consecutive fours to send his side through to Friday's final.

The Capitals' hopes of reaching the showpiece are not over just yet as they return in Qualifier 2 on Wednesday to face the winner of Monday's eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders.


Dhoni delivers

Following Gaikwad's dismissal, Dhoni entered the action in the 19th over with his side requiring 24 from their final 11 balls.

And the 40-year-old shone on the big stage once again. On strike after Moeen was caught out, he delivered a captain's performance with three successive boundaries sealing victory with two balls remaining. 


600 up for Gaikwad

Gaikwad became only the second player to surpass 600 runs in this season’s IPL after KL Rahul of Punjab Kings.

The 24-year-old’s knock of 70 also makes him just the third CSK player to achieve the feat during a single campaign.

Srikar Bharat struck a match-winning six off the final delivery as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Indian Premier League leaders the Delhi Capitals on Friday.

Chasing a target of 164-5, it looked likely that Virat Kohli's men would fall short until a dramatic final over in Dubai.

With six runs needed off the final ball, Avesh Khan (0-31) bowled a wide to give Bharat one more chance, and his final full toss was powered over the ropes to give the Royal Challengers a seven-wicket win.

The Capitals started in commanding fashion after being put in to bat, Prithvi Shaw (48) and Shikhar Dhawan (43) combining for 88 until the latter was caught at mid-off.

Captain Rishabh Pant fell for just 10 runs shortly after Shaw sliced a shot straight to George Garton, with Shreyas Iyer (18) and Shimron Hetmyer (29) helping to push the target score into tricky territory.

When Devdutt Padikkal went for a golden duck and Kohli followed after posting just four runs, the Royal Challengers' task began to look firmly beyond their means.

That was until the intervention of Glenn Maxwell (51) and man-of-the-match Bharat. An unbeaten 78 off just 52 deliveries, aided by some lacklustre work in the field, kept the improbable in sight even after AB de Villiers' promising knock of 26 was ended before the midway point of the innings.

Maxwell reached his half-century to start the final over before Bharat's heroics sparked wild celebrations.

More Capitals gains for Kohli

The Capitals were on a run of just one defeat in seven IPL matches but came unstuck against arguably their least-favourite opponents.

The Royal Challengers have won 16 of 25 completed matches in the competition against Delhi – against no side have they won more.

It was a frustrating way for the Capitals to head into Sunday's first qualifier with the second-place Chennai Super Kings, while the Royal Challengers will be buoyed ahead of their eliminator with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Two grand batters

Maxwell's 51, which included eight fours, saw him become the eighth Australian to reach 2,000 runs in the IPL.

Dhawan also surpassed the 2,000-run mark, a feat only achieved previously by three players for the Capitals in the competition.

Mumbai Indians saw their Indian Premier League title defence come to an end on Friday, despite recording an impressive 42-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Kolkata Knight Riders' emphatic triumph 24 hours earlier had left the two-time reigning champions with a nigh-on impossible task of qualifying, Rohit Sharma's side needing to win by the small matter of 171 runs to squeeze into the top four.

They did keep those exceedingly slim hopes alive with a superb batting display, Ishan Kishan leading the way at the top of the order with a blazing knock of 84 from just 32 deliveries.

Suryakumar Yadav kept the big hits coming in the closing stages too, smashing 82 as Mumbai finished on 235-9, comfortably the highest team score in the competition since the 2021 season resumed.

Already certain to end up bottom of the table, Sunrisers started strongly in their reply but were never truly in contention, captain Manish Pandey's unbeaten 69 the highlight as they finished on 193-8.

The result means the Knight Riders join Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings and table-topping Delhi Capitals in the play-offs.

Mumbai show promise for the future

There will be no hat-trick of IPL triumphs for the Indians, who will be on the outside looking in when the play-offs begin. Any hopes of a miraculous result disappeared quickly in the second innings, Sunrisers opening duo Jason Roy and Abhishek Sharma made 34 and 33 respectively when Mumbai had needed to bowl them out for just 64.

Sun seemingly setting for Warner

David Warner has struggled for form this season with Hyderabad, averaging just 24.37 at a strike-rate of 107.73 runs per 100 deliveries before losing his place in the team. It seems it could be his last year with the franchise, as he thanked Sunrisers fans for a "great ride" in an Instagram post hinting at his impending departure.

Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs to close in on a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs.

Shubman Gill's 56 helped Kolkata to a commanding total of 171-4 in Sharjah, where the Royals succumbed to a chastening defeat.

Shivam Mavi took four wickets, with Lockie Ferguson claiming three scalps as the Royals capitulated to 85 all out in the 17th over.

Kolkata look certain to finish in the top four, while their beaten opponents' already slim hopes went up in smoke.

Gill and Venkatesh Iyer (38) laid a solid foundation for KKR with a 79-run opening partnership, with the remainder of the order contributing double-figure scores.

By contrast, only two Royals batsmen hit double figures as Rahul Tewatia's fine 44 went unrewarded.

Mavi magic

With the Royals losing Yashasvi Jaiswal in the first over and slumping to 13-4 after only 22 deliveries, the writing was on the wall early on in their reply.

Mavi did much of the damage with the ball, his 4-21 restricting the Royals to their lowest total in this IPL season.

KKR almost there

The only team who can prevent the Knight Riders extending their campaign are reigning champions Mumbai Indians.

But the Indians, who play Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, must bat first and win by a record 171 runs in order to claim fourth spot on net run rate.

KL Rahul produced a masterclass as Punjab Kings cruised to a six-wicket Indian Premier League win over Chennai Super Kings to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

Punjab's net run rate ensured even a huge win would be highly unlikely to give them a chance of sneaking into the play-offs, with Kolkata Knight Riders in pole position for the final spot.

The Kings were theoretically still in the hunt, though, as this match ended, after moving up to fifth place by hammering second-placed Super Kings at the Dubai International Stadium, chasing down their target of 135 with seven overs to spare.

Faf du Plessis made 76 from 55 balls as CSK posted 134-6, Chris Jordan the pick of the bowlers with 2-20 and Arshdeep Singh taking 2-35.

That total was nowhere near enough as Punjab captain Rahul, the leading run-scorer in the tournament, smashed an unbeaten 98 from just 42 deliveries in a stunning knock.

The India opening batsman became the Kings' highest run-scorer in the history of the franchise, showing incredible timing and power to move his side up to fifth place.

KKR faced Rajasthan Royals later in the day knowing their fate was in their hands, with Mumbai Indians only having an outside chance of qualifying ahead of their last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

 

Du Plessis one-man show

Du Plessis stepped up as his team-mates failed with the bat, Ravindra Jadeja the second-highest scorer in the CSK innings with 15 not out.

The Super Kings were reeling on 61-5 from 12 overs when MS Dhoni was bowled by Ravi Bishnoi after the returning Jordan and Arshdeep took two wickets apiece.

Former South Africa captain Du Plessis almost carried his bat, eventually falling in the last over from Mohammed Shami after hitting two sixes and eight fours.

Rahul runs riot

It has been an outstanding IPL for Rahul, who holds the orange cap with a competition-high 626 runs from 13 innings at an average of 62.60.

Rahul raced to a half-century in only 25 balls and finished just short of a deserved hundred, clearing the rope eight times and hitting seven fours.

He launched Shardul Thakur, who took 3-28, for six to seal an emphatic win after the bowling of Deepak Chahar and Dwayne Bravo in particular had been taken apart.

Jason Roy led the way as Sunrisers Hyderabad claimed a shock four-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi.

Roy hit 44 as the Sunrisers, who sit bottom of the table with their play-off hopes already over, earned only their third win of a torrid Indian Premier League season at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Already assured of a play-off berth, RCB were aiming for a fourth successive victory that would strengthen their hopes of finishing in the top two.

Virat Kohli's side were set a target of 142 and headed into the final over needing 13, following knocks of 41 and 40 from Devdutt Padikkal and Glenn Maxwell respectively.

AB de Villiers, who finished on 19 not out, edged RCB closer to the total with a huge six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fourth ball of the final over to leave six required from the last two deliveries.

However, Kumar showed all of his experience to wrap up the victory, conceding just one run off his final two balls, as RCB fell narrowly short on 137-6.

Joy for Roy

The England opener made a top-scoring contribution for the Sunrisers, with a knock of 44 from 38 balls.

He and skipper Kane Williamson hit combined in a 70-run partnership in 9.4 overs to provide the platform for their side to build upon.


History for Patel

Despite the defeat, it was a historic day for Harshal Patel, who set a new record of most wickets by an Indian bowler in an IPL season as he surpassed Jasprit Bumrah's tally from the previous season (27).

The right-arm bowler claimed an impressive 3-33 as he dismissed Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Jason Holder.

That took Patel's tally in this season's IPL to 29; seven clear of nearest challenger Avesh Khan, who has impressed for the Delhi Capitals this term.

Nathan Coulter-Nile claimed his best Indian Premier League figures and Ishan Kishan smashed a half-century as Mumbai Indians stayed in the play-off hunt with an eight-wicket hammering of Rajasthan Royals.

Both sides started their penultimate match of the regular season on Tuesday knowing they needed a win to have any real chance of taking the fourth and final play-off place.

The defending champions moved level on points with the fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders, who have a superior run-rate, and left the sorry Royals facing an early exit by dishing out a thrashing at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Coulter-Nile finished with incredible figures of 4-14 as the Royals could only post a meagre 90-9 - the second-lowest total in the full 20 overs in IPL history.

Jimmy Neesham took 3-12 and Jasprit Bumrah 2-14, with Rajasthan capitulating from 41-1 under pressure.

Mumbai had no such trouble with the bat in their run chase, reaching their target for the fall of only two wickets with 70 balls to spare.

Such an emphatic win for the holders may still not be enough for them to qualify ahead of their match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, with KKR in pole position as they prepare to face the seventh-placed Royals on Thursday.

Coulter-Nile rips through Royals

Australian paceman Coulter-Nile was the Royals' chief tormentor after they had got off to a promising start.

He ended an opening stand of 27 by getting Yashasvi Jaiswal caught behind and Rajasthan fell to pieces after Lewis was snared leg before by Bumrah.

Coulter-Nile cleaned up Glenn Phillips and struck David Miller in front before bowling Chetan Sakariya, while Neesham claimed the wickets of Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia on the New Zealand all-rounder's IPL return.

Sealed with a Kish

Kishan came to the wicket on the back of three failures, but he returned to form in spectacular fashion to seal victory in a hurry.

Rohit Sharma (22 off 13) became the first Indian batsman to hit 400 T20 sixes before fellow opener Kishan came to the fore.

The 23-year-old reached the 1,000 runs landmark for the franchise, clearing the rope three times and hitting a further four boundaries, dispatching Mustafizur Rahman for four and then a six to reach his half-century and wrap up a crushing win.

Delhi Capitals moved to the summit of the Indian Premier League table with a three-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the battle between the top two on Monday.

Both sides were already assured of a play-off spot before they met at the Dubai International Stadium and it was the Capitals who moved to the brink of sealing a top-two finish with their 100th victory in the IPL's 50th match of 2021.

Kagiso Rabada steered Dwayne Bravo for four to take Delhi beyond their target of 137 to win, moving above their opponents with one game of the regular season to play.

Ambati Rayudu top scored with an unbeaten 55 from 43 balls in CSK's total of 136-5 after they were put in by birthday boy Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel the pick of the bowlers with 2-18 from his four overs.

Shikhar Dhawan struck 39 off 35 deliveries in his 300th T20 game, but Delhi collapsed to 99-6 after the opener and Ravichandran Ashwin fell in an excellent 15th over from Shardul Thakur (2-13)

Ravindra Jadeja (2-28) had earlier removed Pant and Ripal Patel, into the side at the expense of Steve Smith, but a dropped catch from Krishnappa Gowtham and some wayward Dwayne Bravo bowling cost CSK.

Substitute fielder Gowtham dropped a simple chance offered by Shimron Hetmyer in the 18th over and the West Indies batsman finished unbeaten on 28, with Rabada settling a tight contest.

Axar peaking at the right time

Spinner Axar was named man of the match after taking 3-21 in a four-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

The tweaker made a big impact once again two days later, getting dangerous duo Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali caught at deep midwicket.

Axar has taken 14 wickets in IPL games, with his economy rate of 6.05 the sixth-best in the tournament, and he could have a big say in whether Delhi win the title.

 

Gowtham gaffe punished

The Capitals needed 28 to win off three overs after losing their way in the run chase, but the game swung back in their favour in the 18th over.

Bravo had already bowled two wides and been hit for four by Hetmyer before his Windies team-mate was put down by Gowtham coming in from long-on, the ball going through his hands and crossing the ropes to add insult to injury.

Hetmyer launched Josh Hazlewood for a huge six into the leg side in the next over as Gowtham looked to the skies in disbelief.

Shubman Gill made a decisive half-century as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in their battle for the final Indian Premier League play-off spot.

There is only one place in the last four up for grabs after Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified on Sunday and KKR are primed to extend their season after this victory at the Dubai International Stadium.

Rooted to the bottom of the table with only two wins, Sunrisers could only post 115-8 after Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.

Williamson top scored with only 26 and Abdul Samad made a quickfire 25, with Tim Southee (2-26) Shivam Mavi (2-29) and Varun Chakravarthy 2-26 restricting Hyderabad to a below-par total.

Shakib Al Hasan marked his first appearance since the tournament resumed in the UAE by running Williamson out with a direct hit and the all-rounder also took 1-20.

Gill struck 57 from 51 balls with support from Nitish Rana (25) and Dinesh Karthik made an unbeaten 18 as the Knight Riders got home with two balls to spare

The win moves Eoin Morgan's fourth-placed side two points clear of Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians with a superior run-rate.

Rajasthan and defending champions Mumbai have a game in hand ahead of KKR's final match of the regular season against the Royals in Sharjah on Thursday.

Southee sets the tone

New Zealand paceman Southee went for 40 from four wicketless overs in a loss to Punjab Kings on Friday.

He charged in to put that behind him two days later, trapping Wriddhiman Saha leg before first ball off the second delivery of the match.

Southee also saw the back of Samad after he had hit three sixes, with Varun and Mavi also impressing along with the returning Shakib.

Composed Gill fits the bill

Calm heads were needed in the run chase with so much at stake as the play-off battle hots up, with the Royals knowing a second successive defeat could be so costly.

Opening batsman Gill delivered, laying the foundations with a composed knock that included 10 boundaries.

Siddarth Kaul had Gill caught by Jason Holder, who took 2-32, in the deep in the 17th over, but Morgan's men were well on their way to victory by then.

Royal Challengers Bangalore sealed an Indian Premier League play-off spot thanks to a six-run win over Punjab Kings on Sunday.

Glenn Maxwell smashed 57 from just 33 deliveries as Royal Challengers made 164-7 after opting to bat first, the highest total posted at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium since the 2021 season resumed.

Punjab Kings had won each of the three previous games against their opponents staged in the United Arab Emirates, and they looked well set to extend that streak when opening duo KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal impressed again, putting on a 91-run stand.

However, the innings lost momentum after Rahul departed for 39, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-29) turning the tide in his side's favour.

Agarwal would end up top-scoring with 57, but the Kings came up short in the final reckoning, ending on 158-6 as Bangalore's bowlers held their nerve in the closing stages.

While Punjab missed the chance to move into the play-off positions, Bangalore are certain to finish the round-robin stage in the top four after ending a three-match losing run at the venue.

Taking it to the Max

While Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal made 25 and 40 respectively at the top of the Bangalore order, both struggled to force the pace before being dismissed by Moises Henriques, who finished with 3-12. However, Maxwell had no such problems, smashing four sixes in a knock that was eventually ended when he became one of three wickets for Mohammed Shami (3-39) in an eventful final over.

Rahul on top, Kings in trouble

Rahul is back on top of the IPL's run-scoring list for the campaign; he has now managed 528 in 12 innings at an outstanding average of 52.80. His dismissal to Shahbaz Ahmed changed the complexion of proceedings, though, as his team fell away down the stretch to suffer a painful defeat.

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