In what was a brilliant final, Kolkata Knight Riders clinched the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 in a humdinger against Kings XI Punjab at Bangalore. Wriddhiman Saha’s brilliant 115 not out took Punjab to 199 for four, which seemed a good total. But in the end, Manish Pandey‘s 94 helped Kolkata get on track and the contest went down to the wire with Kolkata clinching it by three wickets.
Punjab’s innings could be divided into two distinct phases. In the first ten overs, Punjab had scored 58 for two, but in the last 10, they smashed 141. Saha was the man, as he laced the park with some fantastic strokes to get to his ton off 49 balls. He wasn’t the only one who smashed it as Manan Vohra also joined the party with 67.
The game turned when Saha took on the spinners. He charged to them fearless and carted them down the ground. He was also helped by Sunil Narine as he dropped a chance in the 14th over. Narine too wasn’t spared as he was taken for 19 in that over. Things did go awry for Kolkata as they almost had Vohra stumped, but Robin Uthappa had accidentally taken it in front of the stumps.
Even when Vohra fell for 67, Saha continued. He took on Narine in the penultimate over, smashing him for a couple of sixes and a four to get to his ton. It was an excellent innings, given the pressure he faced and that helped Punjab score 199 for four. It was quite interesting because Punjab made intriguing changes to their batting order with skipper George Bailey coming in at No and Saha at No 4. While the latter worked, the first one failed.
It was also fascinating that Punjab had scored 199 with Glenn Maxwell and David Miller scoring one run between them. Maxwell was in fact out first ball when he came in the slog overs. But, Punjab would say that it all worked out for the better for them.
Kolkata started their innings positively as Uthappa smashed the first ball for a four. But then, he was out for five in the very first over when he played one uppishly to point. This was Uthappa’s first score under 40 in the India leg.
However, Pandey essayed a brilliant knock and kept Kolkata in the hunt. Smashing the bowlers majorly through the leg-side, Pandey ensured the required rate did not go above board. He was also helped by Yusuf Pathan’s cameo as he smashed 36 off 22. Pathan smashed a few sixes in his trademark style.
However, it continued to be an intriguing battle as Punjab were in the game as they kept picking wickets. The spinners had done a good job with Akshar Patel bowling a few parsimonious overs. Karanveer Singh picked up three wickets, but was expensive as batsmen fancied their chances against him.
An interesting aspect of Pandey’s innings was the way he attacked after the fall of a wicket. On two occasions, he hit a six off the next ball after a wicket fell. With four overs to go, it was still in the balance with Kolkata needing 39. Pandey smashed a six first ball and then Ryan ten Doeschate fell soon after. But then Pandey smashed a six again to move to ninety. There was another four before Pandey got a leading edge and was caught for 94 at extra cover.
It got interesting as they needed 21 off the last three then. Piyush Chawla and Suryakumar Yadav managed singles off Akshar’s last over. He finished with good figures of none for 21. In context of the match they were brilliant figures.
In the penultimate over, Bailey summoned Johnson to bowl the crucial over. Yadav started with a couple and then holed out to the deep making it even tighter. But then, off the last ball of the over, Chawla pulled a six off Johnson to keep it to five needed off six. In the last over, Chawla smashed a four over point for a four to spark off wild celebrations in the Kolkata camp. Punjab would have to wait for another year for another chance.
Kings XI Punjab 199 for 4 in 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 115*, Manan Vohra 67; Piyush Chawla 2 for 44) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 200 for 7 in 19.3 overs (Manish Pandey 94, Yusuf Pathan 36; Karanveer Singh 4 for 54, Mitchell Johnson 2 for 41) by 3 wickets.
Man of the Match: Manish Pandey