Bengaluru: Manish Pandey chose the best stage of them all to showcase his talent as he single-handedly guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a stunning triumph – their second -- in the IPL-7 final against the Kings XI at a super-charged Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday night.
Stealing the thunder from Wriddhiman Saha’s power-packed century which lit up the stadium in evening for its belligerence, Pandey (94, 50b, 7x4, 6x6) turned on the heat in magnificent fashion at his home ground to chase down Kings XI’s imposing 199 for four.
Though the home lad, adjudged Man of the Match, fell six short of a deserving century, slicing Karanveer Singh to George Bailey at cover, his supreme timing and clean hitting coupled with the 71-run partnership with Yusuf Pathan (36) saw the Knights scamper to 200 for seven in with three deliveries to spare.
With Mitchell Johnson, who had earlier sent back the in-from Robin Uthappa for just five, steaming in and setting up an exciting finish, it came down to 15 off the last 12 deliveries.
Piyush Chawla having picked up two wickets in the evening, silenced Preity Zinta’s band with a six off Johnson before slashing Parwinder Awana to the vacant point boundary to give Shah Rukh Khan’s outfit their second IPL crown in three seasons.
Chawla’s sprint after the winning hit was heartwarming even as the Knights bench swarmed the player and took over the turf.
Earlier, Saha, who is most unlikely to cause consternation in the opposition’s minds given the wealth of talent in the Kings XI squad, was on fire with a supremely stroke-filled, unbeaten century to power his team to a formidable total.
Sent into bat by Gautam Gambhir, Kings XI, who were crawling at 58 for two after the 10th over were given a sensational impetus by Saha’s calculated and cavalier hitting that silenced the 2012 champions. Saha, who joined the impressive Manan Vohra in the sixth over, first took them to safety before exploding in the final ten overs as Kings XI finished with a huge 199 for four.
The third wicket pair added 129 off just 73 deliveries as Saha (115 n.o., 10x4, 8x6) flayed the bowlers around for his maiden century while Vohra (67, 52b) motored to his first fifty. If the first ten was a slow affair, the rampaging Saha fetched Kings XI 141 from the next 10 with the last five going for 68 after the big disappointment for the Kings XI supporters with Virender Sehwag’s early dismissal.
Having rocked Mumbai a couple of days ago with a breathtaking century against the Chennai Super Kings, the bespectacled opening batsman couldn’t replicate the form, going for a pull off Umesh Yadav only to get a top-edge which Gautam Gambhir safely pouched at mid-off.
Skipper George Bailey, promoting himself to No.3 had no clue as he jumped out too far to the off-side to Narine’s first ball and was embarrassingly bowled. At 30/2 in the sixth over, Kings XI were in a spot of bother. That was when Saha, not necessarily a No.4 bat and sent ahead of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, grabbed the opportunity.
Kings XI Punjab: V. Sehwag c Gambhir b Yadav 7, M. Vohra c & b Chawla 67, G. Bailey b Narine 1, W. Saha (not out) 115, G. Maxwell c Morkel b Chawla 0, D. Miller (not out) 1. Extras (lb4, w3, nb1) 8. Total (for four wickets in 20 overs) 199.
FoW: 1-23, 2-30, 3-159, 4-170.
Bowling: Morkel 4-0-40-0, Yadav 4-0-39-1, Narine 4-0-46-1, Shakib 4-0-26-0, Chawla 4-0-44-2.
Kolkata Knight Riders: R. Uthappa c Patel b Johnson 5, G. Gambhir c Miller b Karanveer Singh 23, M. Pandey c Bailey b Karanveer Singh 94, Y. Pathan c Maxwell b Karanveer Singh 36, Shakib Al Hasan run out (Bailey) 12, R. ten Doeschate c Miller b Karanveer Singh 4, S.Yadav c Vohra b Johnson 5, P. Chawla (not out) 13, S. Narine (not out) 2. Extras (w-6) 6, Total (for 7 wickets in 19.3 overs) 200
FoW: 1-6, 2-59, 3-130, 4-156, 5-168, 6-179, 7-187
Bowling: Johnson 4-0-41-2, Balaji 4-0-41-0, Awana 3.3-0-43-0, Karanveer Singh 4-0-54-4, Patel 4-0-21-0