What a memorable night and one of the best of my career. The atmosphere was electric throughout and the match was a fitting climax to another excellent tournament.
Knight Riders batsman Manvinder Bisla bats during the IPL final match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings at MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai. (Photo by Santosh Harhare / Hindustan Times)
The greatest consolation for the Super Kings is that they did not 'lose' by performing poorly or making bad decisions. They
rose to the occasion, as we knew they would, and played superb cricket. But on the day, KKR were marginally better. That's the way it goes. There has to be a winner and a loser.
The injury to Balaji forced a late change to our line-up and resulted in Brendon McCullum being benched, which was horrible for him. But he took it in his stride and threw his weight behind Manvinder Bisla, which was typical of his 'team first' mentality and the team spirit we have created.
In the months and years to come, it won't matter who played in the final, even to those who missed out. The memories will be of the tournament and games we played to get to the final. Everyone will have their winners' medal and that is what matters.
How ironic that I wrote before the final about the depth of our squad and not being dependent on two or three big stars. Well, our brightest stars - Gambhir and Narine - both had forgettable nights and it was left to an underrated, 'lesser' star to dominate.
From the moment I joined Bisla in the middle, I could sense that he was buzzing with adrenalin. Sometimes, the big occasion can become intimidating but he was obviously not intimidated. I told him to keep it simple and not be tempted to change his game because it was the final. It was important to stay with him for a while so that he did not feel the pressure of worrying about wickets.
It hasn't been my best IPL with the bat but I made some useful runs at important times and I'm thrilled to have come good in the final. Towards the end of your career it becomes easier to soak up all the positive energy and channel it towards achieving your goal.
As a young player, I would often sit in the changing room after a big match and think 'what happened?' But on Sunday night, I lived every moment.
I'm excited about having some time off to recharge before the tour of England and our defence of the Basil d'Oliveira Test trophy. But before that, I intend to play some golf and raise a toast (or two) to Shah Rukh Khan, my team mates and the hundreds of people who work so hard behind the scenes at KKR. Cheers!
The writer plays for KKR