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The Final of IPL Season 5 lived up to the hype with the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders producing a modern day classic with a nail-biting contest going down to the final over. In the end it was a fantastic partnership worth 136 between rookie Manvinder Bisla (89 from 48balls) and the old pro Jacques Kallis (69 from 49balls) which set up a 5-wicket win for KKR in Chennai's fortress Chepauk as they chased down a massive 191 to win with 2 balls to spare. Chennai would have felt that they had one hand on the cup when they posted 190/3 in their 20 overs on the back of an excellent 38-ball 73 from Suresh Raina, but KKR had other ideas with Bisla blitz keeping them ahead of the asking rate for large periods before the match became tight at the very end. Manoj Tiwary proved to be the final over hero for Kolkata as the Bengal batsman found the fence twice in the final over to see his side home.Â·
After 8 weeks of some stunning on-field performances and some huge off-field controversies the final of the Indian Premier League had come down to a match between the two-time defending champions, the Chennai Super Kings and the representatives of India's most buoyant fans base, the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The home side were unsurprisingly unchanged with Chennai sticking with the team that won them the last two knock-out games against Mumbai and Delhi. Kolkata though did not have that luxury with a hamstring injury to Laxmipathy Balaji ruling out the former Chennai man, giving Brett Lee a chance to play in the final. That change though came at the expense of the unfortunate Brendon McCullum, who was forced to make way for Manvinder Bisla.Â·The flip of the coin went Chennai's way, and it came as no surprise that they opted to bat first.
The Super Kings got off to another rollicking start, racking up 54 runs in the first 6 overs. Brett Lee, who conceded just 3 runs in the opening over of the match went for 29 runs in his next two as Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay took a liking to the ball coming on to the bat. Bangladeshi allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who like Lee conceded just 3 in his first over too, went for 14 in his second over with Hussey sweeping the bowler for the first 6 of the day. In between Shakib and Lee's overs, Sunil Narine snuck in a quiet over, but crucially failed to break the opening partnership.
Spreading the field did little to stem the flow of runs as Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay kept their side ahead in the contest, posting 86 runs at the half-way stage of the innings. With wickets in hand, it was time for Chennai to switch their approach from accumulating to some power hitting in an attempt to post another 200+ score.
A slower ball from Rajat Bhatia, which came to VIjay as a rank slow long hop, bought KKR a wicket as a diving Shakib at the square-leg boundary took an excellent diving catch to dismiss the batsman for 42 (32b).
Suresh Raina came out at his standard no.3 position and got into the action right away. The UP left-hander smashed Jacques Kallis into the stands over square leg to get his innings going, before taking17 runs off Yusuf Pathan's sole over. Michael Hussey meanwhile brought up his half-century off just 38 balls, a near perfect way to celebrate one's birthday. At the end of 15 overs, Chennai were in a strong position at 136/1, looking to finish the innings strongly.
Suresh Raina decided to take on young West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine, and smashed him for one of the biggest sixes of the tournament, 105 meters, the shot bringing up his half-century in 27 balls. Chennai had added another 24 runs in 2 overs before Jacques Kallis came back for his final over and removed Michael Hussey with his first delivery for 54.
MS Dhoni though came out with purpose and spanked a couple of boundaries off Kallis to restore Chennai's momentum. Raina meanwhile continued to go after Sunil Narine, hitting him for another six, this time back over his head as the super spinner went for 37 runs off his 4 overs, his most expensive spell in the entire tournament. There were no fireworks in the final over with Shakib closing things well. Raina fell on the last ball of the innings, caught brilliantly in the deep by Brett Lee having made 73 from 38 balls. Chennai finished with a massive 190/3, a massive score in a final.
Kolkata's nightmare continued when they came out to bat with top scorer and skipper Gautam Gambhir bowled neck and crock by a slower ball from Ben Hilfenhaus in the very first over. It was a poor shot from Gambhir, as he swung across the line and ended up missing the ball completely. After a few sedate overs, Manvinder Bisla opted to make the most of his opportunity by hammering Albie Morkel for 20 runs in the fourth over. An exciting end to the powerplay saw Bisla keep his side in the contest by smacking Ravichandran Ashwin for two sixes to take KKR through to 56/1 at the end of 6 overs.
Bisla was playing a real blinder, justifying his inclusion, brining up his half-century off just 27 balls. And the runs continued to flow unabated as the youngster guided KKR to 100/1 in 10 overs, bringing the asking rate down to just 9 for the second half of the innings.
A poor decision from KKR to take the time-out after the 12th over when the team was playing so well cost them some momentum. The next two overs were relatively slow by their standards thus far, conceding 8 runs each. That brought about the dismissal of Bisla for 89, an exceptional innings on such a massive stage from the young man. From Chennai's perspective though it was a lifeline in this contest and at the end of 15 overs, KKR were 141/2, needing exactly 50 to win.
With the match on the line, Kallis stepped up his game and struck consecutive boundaries off Shadab Jakati to bring up his Â·half-century in 39 balls.
The experiment of sending Laxmi Ratan Shukla proved to be a disaster as the veteran Bengal allrounder fell for 3 from just 6 balls putting the pressure right back on KKR. The over though finished well for the Knight Riders with Kallis hitting a 4 and 6 (barely) on consecutive deliveries to bring the equation down to 27 from 18 balls.
With the match seemingly in the bag, Yusuf Pathan opted to throw his wicket away, trying to hit the second ball he faced over the legside, only succeeding in top edging Ashwin's carrom ball with Subramaniam Badrinath judging the skyscraper to perfection.
Kolkata's hopes of winning the game suffered a massive setback when Kallis pulled up lame in the middle of the 18th over after running consecutive twos. With Kallis unable to run any twos, Chennai stormed back into the contest dragging the equation up to 16 from 8 balls. With a boundary desperately needed, Kallis went for it and was caught in the deep for 69, leaving Kolkata's dug out in complete disarray.
On the very next delivery, Chennai appeared to have won the game when Shakib was caught, but the ball was declared a no-ball for being above the waist, and Kolkata stole 2 runs in addition to the no-ball. The following ball Shakib, found the fine-leg boundary and suddenly only 9 were required from the last over.
Chennai put their faith in Dwayne Bravo for the final over, with Dhoni for once not giving himself any playing room by opting not to bowl Ravindra Jadeja all night. After scoring 2 runs from the first 2 balls, 'Chhota Dada' Manoj Tiwary staked his claim to be the new 'Bada Dada' of Kolkata by hitting consecutive boundaries over backward square leg to win the match.
The win for the Knight Riders was made possible largely by the brilliance of Bisla on the night, and it was wonderful to see a young man win a game so often dominated by the seasoned pros. As far as the neutrals go, they would also be happy to see the IPL Trophy find a new home in the spiritual home of Indian cricket at the Eden Gardens, which will as a result host next season's final.
CSK: M Vijay, M Hussey, S Raina, MS Dhoni(c/wk), S Badrinath, R Jadeja, D Bravo, A Morkel, R Ashwin, S Jakati, B Hilfenhaus
KKR: G Gambhir(c), M Bisla(wk), J Kallis, M Tiwary, L Shukla, S Al Hasan, Y Pathan, R Bhatia, B Lee, S Narine, I Abdulla
Chennai Super Kings 190/3 (20 overs, 9.5rpo)
S Raina 73 (38) R Bhatia 1-23
M Hussey 54 (43) S Al Hasan 1-25
Kolkata Knight Riders 192/5 (19.4 overs, 9.76rpo)
M Bisla 89 (48) B Hilfenhaus 2-25
J Kallis 69 (49) A Morkel 1-38
Kolkata win by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare
File Photograph Copyright: Michael Henn
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