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In what turned out to be a fitting finale to a splendid season of Pepsi IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in a thrilling last-over finish in Bengaluru. While KXIP posted a mammoth 199 for four – thanks to a brilliant century by Wriddhiman Saha – KKR ensured they were up to the mark during the chase despite losing routine wickets. Their cause was fuelled by a match-winning 94 (off 50 balls) by Manish Pandey. This is the Knight Riders’ second title triumph, after their maiden win back in 2012.
Powerplay: Knights Riders choke touted top order
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir won the toss and chose to field first. For KXIP, Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra came atop the order. And while the duo made a fluent start, their partnership was broken for 23 by Umesh Yadav in the fourth over; the KKR pacer had Sehwag (7) caught by Gambhir at mid-off. Then, George Bailey unexpectedly promoted himself up to No.3. However, his opposite number’s first bowling change – in form of Sunil Narine – saw the end of the KXIP skipper. The deceptive off-spinner bowled Bailey (1) out off the very first ball of the sixth over, courtesy a straighter one.
And thanks to a tidy two-run final powerplay over, the initial phase cost KKR a mere 32 runs – KXIP’s lowest powerplay score of the season – for two wickets.
Middle Overs: Vohra, Saha turn the tide
As a result of the two early jolts, KXIP had to rebuild in the middle stages. And after a relatively quiet seventh over, both Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha opened their shoulders and plundered 14 off the next one. But by the halfway stage KKR had again pulled things back as the scorecard read 58 for two.
However, Wriddhiman Saha then took matters in his own hands and went after the opposition bowlers. He helped plunder 34 runs off the next three overs. And then, in the 14th over – which was bowler by Narine – the diminutive wicketkeeper batsman struck a six and followed it up with two fours to bring up his half-century in 29 balls. And later in the same over, Vohra also brought up his 50 with a four. Those six deliveries by Narine ended up costing KKR 19 runs. The on-song duo then topped it off by scoring 20 runs off the next over, bowled by Morne Morkel.
Thanks to this onslaught, the scorecard read 131 for two after 15 overs; it also saw the third-wicket stand go past the 100-run mark. In all, 99 runs were scored during the crucial nine-over middle phase.
Final Stretch: It’s Saha all the way
In the 16th over, both Saha and Vohra survived close calls – while the former was dropped by Narine off his own bowling, the latter got a respite after Robin Uthappa botched a stumping chance. Saha capitilised on the second life and struck two fours and a maximum in the next over, which ended up costing a total of 19 runs. However, KXIP lost Vohra (67) soon thereafter; he was caught by Piyush Chawla off his own bowling.
With the scorecard reading 159 for three in 17.1 overs, Glenn Maxwell (0) joined the well-set Saha. However, the big-hitting batsman perished off the first ball he faced while reverse-sweeping Chawla; he ended up finding the safe hands of Morkel at short-thirdman.
However, it was clearly Saha’s night. The KXIP batsman struck Narine for a six and four, and then, brought up his century off another big hit off the wily spinner. His 49-ball 100 marked the first time that a player has reached triple digits in an IPL Final. Thanks to Saha’s exploits, the otherwise stingy Narine gave away 17 runs off his fourth over; in fact, his bowling figures for the night read 4-0-46-1, making him the most expensive of KKR bowlers.
And in the final over of the innings, Saha went after Yadav and helped pick 12 runs off him. As a result, KXIP finished at a healthy 199 for four after 20 overs, despite getting their slowest start of the tournament. KKR Innings
Powerplay: Gambhir, Pandey take charge after Uthappa’s dismissal
KKR’s reply suffered a big setback early on as the ever-reliable Uthappa (5) holed out to Akshar Patel off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson in the very first over. But Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey went about undeterred as they tried to approach the steep run-chase with a positive mindset. They took kept the run-rate around the 10-an-over mark as they picked up routine boundaries.
They brought up the KKR 50 in the sixth over, and by the end of the powerplay, they had taken the score to 59. They had clearly neautralised the impact felt by Uthappa’s first-over departure.
Middle Overs: Wickets, ticking scorecard make for an interesting climax
But with the introduction of spin in the form of Karanveer Singh, KXIP dealt another big blow. The young leggie got rid of Gambhir (23) as he was going for a big one off the first ball of the seventh over. But Pandey continued to rally on in the company of Yusuf Pathan. Thanks to a few big strikes, they took the KKR score to 89 for two at the halfway point.
Pandey then brought up his 50 in the 11th over with a six off Parvinder Awana. The KKR 100 also came up in the same over as 18 runs were scored off it. But then, Akshar Patel bowled a three-run 12th over – to follow up his two-run 10th – to put the pressure back on KKR. But thanks to a big 18-run Lakshmipathy Balaji over – which was laced with two Yusuf Pathan sixes – the score reached 128 for two after 13.
But the hard-hitting Pathan’s (36) 22-ball cameo ended when he holed out to Maxwell in the deep off the bowling of Karanveer Singh. However, Pandey – who struck a maximum and a six immediately after the wicket – ensured the 14th over went for 14 runs. By the end of the 15th over, KKR reached 151 for three, courtesy Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan.
Final Stretch: Piyush helps KKR pull off a last-over thriller
With the run-chase equation reading 49 off 30 balls, the game was headed to an interesting finish. While KKR needed both Pandey and Shakib to go about their business the way they had been, KXIP needed a breakthrough. They got just that when off the third ball of the 16th over, Shakib was run out by Bailey, to leave KKR on 156 for four. However, that over yielded 10 crucial runs, leaving the run-chase equation on 39 off 24 balls and Ryan ten Doeschate joining forces with Pandey.
Karanveer Singh then struck a blow by getting rid of ten Doeschate (4), after getting hit for a six by Pandey. But the delivery after the wicket cost KXIP another maximum, thanks to another maximum by Pnadey – who reached the nineties with that strike. He then dispatched the spinner for a four to put the pressure back on the bowling side. However, in a match where the momentum was swinging wildly towards the end, Pandey (94) departed off the final ball of the 17th over.
With 21 required off 18 balls, KKR had two new batsmen – Suryakumar Yadav and Piyush Chawla – at the crease. Despite some tight bowling from Akshar Patel – who finished with figures of 4-0-21-0 – the two batsmen brought the run-chase equation down to 15 off 12 balls. Mitchell Johnson, who was handed the responsibility of bowling the all-important 19th over, then got rid of Yadav (5).
KXIP were clearly in with a shot with all of KKR’s recognised batsmen back in the dugout and Narine taking strike opposite Chawla. And after bowling five tight deliveries, Johnson pitched a short one at the end, which was struck for a big six over square-leg by Chawla. The leg-spinner then struck the winning four for his team with three balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Manish Pandey for his match-winning half-century
Powered by a brilliant 122 from the willow of the legendary Virender Sehwag, Kings XI Punjab registered a 24-run victory against the Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 2. After setting a steep 227-run target, KXIP and the Nawab of Najafgarh seemed to have met their match in Suresh Raina. The let-hander scored a 25-ball 87-run blinder as he looked to finish off the run-chase all by himself. However, his unforced dismissal – off a freak run-out in the seventh over – caused CSK to lose the initial momentum and also the match. KXIP will now face KKR in the IPL 2014 Final on Sunday, June 1, 2014, at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Powerplay: Sehwag dominates CSK pacers
MS Dhoni asked KXIP to take first strike at Wankhede Stadium on a wicket that appeared to be batting-friendly. Doing justice to the track, Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra gave their team a great start. Barring the second over – which cost a solitary run – there was no respite for CSK as the likes of Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey and Mohit Sharma were taken to the cleaners. In fact, the fourth over went for a whopping 24 runs, courtesy two fours and two sixes that were struck in it.
By the end of the powerplay, KXIP had scored 70 runs – out of which Sehwag accounted for 42 (in just 18 balls), while Vohra scored 25 during that stretch.
Middle Overs: CSK still have no answers for Viru
Despite Dhoni mixing the attack up with the spin of R Ashwin starting with the seventh over, there was no stopping the on-song KXIP openers. Sehwag even brought up his half-century in that over. The batting pair even picked on Ravindra Jadeja, and ended up bringing up their team’s 100 in the 10th over itself.
But finally, CSK caught a break, when Ishwar Pandey – bowling the 11th over – got rid of Manan Vohra (34) and gave up only two runs against the run of play, leaving KXIP on 110 for one. But that over was an aberration as Nehra conceded 20 off the next. And while Ashwin dismissed Glenn Maxwell (13) off the final ball of the 13th over, the off-spinner had already conceded 17 runs off the earlier five deliveries.
At 148 for two, David Miller joined Sehwag at the crease. The pair soon brought up the KXIP 150 in the 14th over. Then by the end of the 15th over, KXIP posted 167 runs for two wickets. Again, Sehwag was the chief destroyer as he was unbeaten on 98 at that stage and helped his team plunder 97 quick runs during the middle nine-over period.
Final Stretch: Vintage Sehwag powers KXIP past 200
Sehwag eventually got to his century in the 15th over with a single. However, he showed no signs of slowing down thereafter, and even Miller joined the onslaught. The duo scored 44 runs over the next three overs, and took KXIP past the 200-run mark. And finally, in the 18th over, CSK saw the back of Sehwag (122) off Nehra’s bowling. But before departing, the veteran opener struck 12 fours and eight maximums during his 58-ball innings, which was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Pepsi IPL 2014.
Even George Bailey (1) perished off Nehra a few balls later. And then, in the final over, Miller’s (38) 19-ball cameo came to an end, courtesy a run-out. And off the last ball of the innings, Mohit Sharma got rid of Wriddhiman Saha (6). But by that point, KXIP had already posted a massive 226 runs in their 20 overs, thanks largely to Sehwag’s stellar century. In all, 58 runs were scored in the final five overs.
Powerplay: Ravaging Raina does the unthinkable
In response, CSK lost Faf du Plessis (0) in the first over itself, off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. But Suresh Raina, who walked in at No.3, then took matters in his own hands. The southpaw quickly got his eye in and struck a flurry of sixes and fours to neutralise the early loss. Thanks to his exploits – during which Dwayne Smith was a mere spectator – the CSK 50 came up in the fourth over, which ended up costing KXIP 20 runs. And then, to top off an unbelievable feat of batting Raina brought up his half-century off just 16 balls – with a big off-side six in the fifth over.
However, Smith (7), who was going at less than a run-a-ball was cleaned up by Sandeep Sharma later in that over. But Raina continued to smash big hit after big hit, and he struck two sixes and five fours – including one off a no-ball – to bring up the CSK 100 after just six overs, which is the highest powerplay score in the IPL. Raina’s score at the end of this period was 87 off just 25 balls – including 12 fours and six maximums.
Middle Overs: Raina goes, so does the momentum
But in an anti-climactic end to a brilliant knock, Raina (87) was run out by Bailey while responding to a Brendon McCullum single off the first ball of the seventh over. And thanks to this breakthrough, KXIP only concede a total of seven runs off the next two overs. Despite the flying start, CSK could only get as far as 122 for three at the halfway stage.
And while Jadeja helped pick 12 runs off the next over, McCullum (11) was run out at the end of the 12th over. Then, off the first ball of the next over, Jadeja (27) holed out to Johnson at thirdman off the bowling of Parvinder Awana. The KXIP pacer struck another blow four balls later with the wicket of David Hussey (1), leaving CSK on 142 for six in 12.5 overs. Thereafter, Dhoni and Ashwin came together and took their team to 155 for six by the end of the 15th over.
During the nine-over middle phase, CSK could score only 55 runs, as Raina’s loss clearly impacted the run-chase in a big way.
Final Stretch: Kings XI seal the match
With 72 more runs required off the final 30 deliveries, CSK needed their skipper to take charge – not only because he was the last recognised match-winner in the line-up, but also because if anyone could pull this run-chase off it was Dhoni. But he lost the company of Ashwin (10) in the 17th over – courtesy a stumping by Saha off the bowling of Akshar Patel. And by the end of that over the run-chase equation read 60 off 18 balls.
And then, it seemed like CSK had lost their one remaining beacon of hope when Johnson bowled Dhoni out, the Men in Yellow caught another break as video replays revealed that the pacer had clearly overstepped and captain cool was recalled. However, this turn of events did not change the course of the match, as the required run-rate kept climbing with every passing delivery. And despite Dhoni’s (42*) best efforts – including a last-ball six reminiscent of the 2011 World Cup-winning hit – CSK missed out on their sixth IPL Finals appearance as they ended up on 202 for seven.
Man of the Match: Virender Sehwag for his match-winning century