Purple is the colour of the Indian Premier League and the Knights are the new Kings. There are a whole host of new heroes who made this possible: The unheralded Manvinder Singh Bisla, the legendary Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al Hasan, and Kolkata’s own Manoj Tiwary.
Each of them played like they owned the stage as Shah Rukh Khan’s Knights notched up an unbelievable win with three balls to spare.
Bisla didn’t know till Saturday evening whether he would be playing the final. KKR took a big gamble by playing him ahead of Brendon McCullum and the Haryana batsman was an absolute revelation.
A chase of 191 is thought to be out of bounds when you are playing at the Chepauk against CSK, and when skipper Gautam Gambhir got out in the first over, it seemed Chennai were well on their way to making it a hat-trick of titles.
But Bisla came out of nowhere and started hitting every single bowler on view. Dhoni just hadn’t prepared the blueprint for the guy.
With the pitch staying good for batting, Bisla simply put his foot out of the way and continued to hit through the line. The CSK bowlers were left clueless. Then there was Kallis at the other end top contend with. The South African looked rock solid and it seemed that he knew he was eager to win the game on his own.
But when he got out with KKR still needing 16 off 11 balls, CSK were in with a chance. Dhoni started playing his standard tricks, taking time between deliveries and making the pressure unbearable for every single soul on the ground!
But it was destined to be KKR’s night. Shakib survived a close call when Billy Bowden called a no-ball for a waist-high full toss off Ben HIlfenhaus. Shakib hit a boundary off the next ball and it was down to nine off the last over.
Bravo was a picture of confidence coming into bowl, but so was Tiwary. Two brilliant boundaries and the Knights was on top the world with two balls to spare.
Earlier, when Super Kings batted, it was again the brilliant batting unit that came to the fore. While M Vijay and Mike Hussey gave them the dream start, Raina played his best innings of the IPL and took his team to a position of strength.
Vijay (42 off 32 balls), who has been in divine touch since the Delhi game a couple of days back, started from where he had left off. The supreme timing of the right-hander was on display as an off-colour Lee failed to find the correct length. Hussey, too, kept rotating the strike, making it difficult for the bowlers to settle down and the opening pair put on 87 runs in 10.2 overs. Vijay looked well set for much more, but an outstanding diving catch by Shakib Al Hasan at deep square leg brought about his downfall.
KKR were looking to come back into the match with Gambhir handing his resources well. But Raina (71 off 36 balls), who has struggled through the tournament, suddenly decided to make the final stage his own. His case was made just a little easier when Gambhir brought Yusuf Pathan in for the 14th over. Raina was waiting for this opportunity to explode and took 17 runs off that one over with his characteristic slog sweeps that helped Chennai retain the momentum.
Gambhir was banking on the last three overs that mystery spinner Sunil Narine had up his sleeve. But when he came on to bowl for his second spell, CSK had lost only two wickets with Raina and Dhoni well entrenched. With no fear of losing wickets, Raina went after Narine, and the West Indies player, for the first time in the tournament, started feeling the heat.
TWISTS AND TURNS
CSK race to 190/3 as Suresh Raina comes good with 38-ball 73.
Player of the season Sunil Narine gets just one of the first 13 overs, which allows CSK batsman to get into groove. Ends with 0/37.
Michael Hussey catches a Kallis slog sweep but topples over boundary as a dismissal turns into a six on the last ball of the 16th over
Kallis holes out off a Hilfenhaus full toss in the second-last ball of the 19th over as KKR seem to be choking on the brink of victory.
With KKR needing 16 runs off 7 balls, Shakib al-Hasan is caught off Hilfenhaus but it’s called a no-ball for being above waist height and the batsmen run 2. Shakib then hits a 4 as a single ball costs CSK 7 runs.
Batting at No. 7, Manoj Tiwary (9 runs off 3 balls) finishes off match in final over.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Man of the Final: Manvinder Bisla, Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rising Star of the tournament: Mandeep Singh, Kings XI Punjab.
Golden Player of the season: Sunil Narine, Kolkata Knight Riders.
Fairplay Award: Rahul Dravid, Rajasthan Royals.
Purple Cap: Morne Morkel, Delhi Daredevils.
Power performance of the season: AB de Villiers, Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Times of India)