The Kolkata Knight Riders found a surprise hero in Manvinder Bisla to bag their maiden Indian Premier League title with a five-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling Twenty20 final on Sunday.
The little-known opener smashed five sixes and eight fours in his quickfire 48-ball 89 as Kolkata surpassed Chennai’s total of 190-3 with two balls to spare at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Kolkata needed nine runs to win off the final over bowled by West Indies seamer Dwayne Bravo, but Manoj Tiwary (9 not out) smashed the third and fourth deliveries for fours to spark celebrations in his team’s camp.
Kolkata’s other batting star was South Africa’s Jacques Kallis, who made a crucial 49-ball 69 with the help of one six and seven fours, despite suffering a hamstring injury in the later part of his knock.
“Mission accomplished,” Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir said. “Chasing 191 against the defending champions in their backyard shows the character of Bisla. It proves a captain is only as good as his team.”
Man-of-the-match Bisla and Kallis put on 136 runs for the second wicket in 13.4 overs, before Tiwary and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (11 not out) completed the win to deny two-time champions Chennai a hat-trick.
“Bisla and Kallis got the partnership Kolkata needed,” Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “I think the ball started coming on slightly better in the second half, but under the conditions we batted well. Our bowlers were not getting the reverse swing.”
Australian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus bagged two wickets for Chennai, who were facing elimination at one stage of the tournament.
Chennai were lucky to figure in the playoffs, having qualified on a better net run-rate than that of the Royal Challengers Bangalore after both the teams finished their league engagements with 17 points.
The final was also watched by Pakistan cricket chief Zaka Ashraf. Pakistani players, who are usually a major draw in India, have been kept out of the tournament after the first edition, reportedly due to security fears.
Suresh Raina earlier cracked a 38-ball 73 with five sixes to help Chennai set a stiff target. Australian Michael Hussey (54), who turned 37 on Sunday, and Murali Vijay (42) were the other main scorers.
Chennai made a brisk start after electing to bat as Hussey put on 87 for the opening wicket with Vijay and then 73 for the second wicket with Raina.
Raina raced to his half-century off just 27 balls, before falling off the final ball of the innings, caught by Australian Brett Lee in the deep off Shakib.
Kolkata got US$2 million for the win, while runners-up Chennai bagged US$1.5 million.
Kolkata, Chennai and the Delhi Daredevils qualified for the Champions League to be held in India in October between the top domestic Twenty20 clubs from around the world.