Bangalore, 1 June-2014(AIR): A resounding innings from Manish Pandey delivered Kolkata Knight Riders their second IPL trophy in three seasons, as a target of 200 was overhauled with three deliveries remaining at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday night. If the first half of the IPL 7 final was dominated by Wriddhiman Saha’s superb maiden Twenty20 century, the second was all about Pandey whose 54-ball 90 smoothed over the failure of Robin Uthappa and left Kings XI Punjab ruing some wasteful bowling.
A sparkling 94 from Pandey set the foundation for KKR’s three-run win over KXIP.
It needed a special effort to outdo Saha’s 55-ball 115* and Pandey produced just that; and though he fell before finishing the job the target was achieved in nerve-shredding manner with Piyush Chawla pulling Mitchell Johnson for six to leave KKR needing five off six balls. The winning runs also came from Chawla’s bat, sealing a seven-wicket win and clearing the KKR dugout.
Chasing 200 is a daunting task in any situation, but even more so in a final and when a team loses their most valuable batsman in the first over. Uthappa’s golden run of ten innings of 40 or more ended when he slashed Mitchell Johnson to a leaping Akshar Patel at point, leaving KKR to go about their job with a required rate of ten an over. They were dented further when first ball after the Powerplay – which contained just eight dot balls – Gautam Gambhir (22) heaved Karanveer Singh to wide long-on, ending a stand of 53 with Pandey.
But Pandey, on his home ground, showed some fight, slicing Karanveer over extra cover and pulling Parwinder Awana for two sixes in an expensive 11th over during which he reached fifty in just 31 balls.
KKR needed one of their big-hitting all rounders to support Pandey and Yusuf Pathan did that briefly, clouting four sixes in his 32 before he holed out off Karanveer looking for another maximum. As he had two evening ago against Chennai Super Kings, George Bailey nailed a brilliant direct hit to run out Shakib for 12, leaving KKR to get 44 off 27 balls. Pandey replied by launching Karanveer for sixes either side of Ryan ten Doeschate’s exit, forcing the bowler to send down two wides which added to KKR’s cause, but a rush of blood saw Pandey slice the last ball of the over to Bailey at cover. Karanveer, 26, finished with a T20 best of 4 for 54.
The key blows from here came when Chawla slammed Johnson over deep square leg and sliced Awana over four for the winning hit, after which he ran around the field while his ecstatic team-mates chased after him.
This frenetic chase put in the shadow the excellent work from Saha, who had galloped to a century in 49 balls in KXIP’s first appearance in an IPL final. The second part of KXIP’s innings, after they had been put in to bat, was as frenetically eventful as the first was sedate and shaky. Where the first ten overs had produced just 58 runs for the loss of two overs, the last ten brought about 141, of which Saha’s contribution was 100.
Saha wasn’t very convincing at the start of his innings, slashing and wafting at deliveries far too early.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 200 for 7 in 19.3 overs (Manish Pandey 94, Yusuf Pathan 36) beat Kings XI Punjab 199 for 4 in 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 115*, Manan Vohra 67) by three wickets