Kolkata Knight Riders were crowned Indian Premier League (IPL) champions for a second time in three years after chasing down a target of 200 to beat Kings XI Punjab at Bangalore, yesterday. Manish Pandey struck 94 before it was left to Piyush Chawla to see the Knight Riders home, the left-hander slicing a four over backward point to take his team past their opponents’ total of 199-4 with three balls to spare.
West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine struggled with the ball and gave away 17 runs off his fourth over. Narine conceded three sixes to centurion Wriddhiman Saha, the most he had done in an IPL match. Narine’s final figures for the night read 4-0-46-1, making him the most expensive of KKR bowlers.
However, when his team batted Narine got a valuable single, one of just two runs he scored—which turned the strike over to Chawla to get the winning runs. It all meant Saha’s unbeaten century was in vain for the King’s XI, who had also lost to Kolkata in the delayed final qualifier earlier last week. They must have had high hopes of gaining revenge after posting such an imposing score, Saha and Manan Vohra (67) the star turns after the King’s XI had seen their big names fail.
Opener Virender Sehwag made just seven before falling to Umesh Yadav and captain George Bailey managed just a single, his dismissal to spinner Sunil Narine leaving the score at 30-2. However Vohra helped repair the early damage with a half-century that included two sixes and six fours, helping put on a stand worth 129 runs with Saha that was eventually ended by Chawla.
The leg-spinner also accounted for Glenn Maxwell, the Australian departing for a first-ball duck having been sat patiently waiting for the chance to bat. Saha, though, ended up on 115 not out from just 55 balls,having hit eight sixes and ten fours. His sparkling ton left KKR with a lot of work to do to vindicate skipper Gautam Gambhir’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
They lost Robin Uthappa early for five but Gambhir and Pandey kept up with the required rate in a second-wicket alliance worth 53 during the powerplay overs. Yusuf Pathan came in after the departure of his captain, the first of four wickets for leg-spinner Karanveer Singh, and duly belted 36 in a hurry, with his 22-ball knock including four maximums.
Even with Yusuf’s departure, as well as that of Shakib Al Hasan, the Knight Riders seemed to be on course, only for them to suffer a late wobble when firstly Ryan ten Doeschate and then Pandey—who faced just 50 deliveries for his runs —fell in the same Karanveer over.
But, just as the King’s XI sensed an opening, Chawla pulled the final ball of the penultimate over from Mitchell Johnson for six, leaving the equation at five from the last. After a dot ball Narine got a single to get Chawla on strike and then watched on as his team-mate blazed a boundary to seal the win, immediately sparking wild scenes of celebration as his colleagues rushed onto the field.
PUNJAB XI —199/4 (20 overs); W Saha 115; M Vohra 67 (P Chawla 44/2) vs KKR —200/7 (19.3 overs); M Pandey 94; Y Pathan 36; (K Singh 54/4; M Johnson 41/2) —KKR won by three wickets.