MUMBAI — They were cheering all the way from Cape Town to Dhaka, from Haryana to Bengal to Kolkata, as the Knight Riders snatched a thrilling five-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket final at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk on Sunday.
Chennai, the two-time defending champions, looked well beaten despite defending 191 as Manvinder Bisla of Haryana and Jacques Kallis, Cape Town’s finest, added 136 for the second wicket in 13,4 overs.
But with Bisla outfoxed by Albie Morkel for a scintillating 89 off 48 balls, announcing himself as a great talent and Kallis, laid low by cramps, falling for 69 in the penultimate over, Kolkata needed 16 off seven balls as the Super Kings staged a fantastic fightback.
But Bangladeshi star Shakib al-Hasan, who may well be the new best all-rounder in the world once Kallis retires, scored seven runs off the last ball of the over as Ben Hilfenhaus bowled a no-ball for height and Dhaka’s hero then innovated with a scoop for four off the extra delivery.
Manoj Tiwary, one of the new generation of Indian batting stars, then struck two fours in the final over to clinch victory with two balls to spare and spark massive celebrations in his home state of Bengal.
Chasing such a daunting target, Kolkata seemed to have suffered a mortal blow in the first over when captain Gautam Gambhir missed with a rash swish across the line and was bowled by Hilfenhaus for just two.
But Bisla showed he was equipped to play a match-winning innings on the big stage. Brought in to replace seasoned New Zealand international Brendon McCullum, because Brett Lee had to return to boost the bowling attack after Lakshmipathy Balaji failed to recover from a hamstring injury, he showed enormous self-belief against the Goliaths of the IPL and an international-strength attack.