Manish Pandey bats during the IPL 2014 final match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT Photo)
Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a thrilling final tie against Kings XI Punjab, winning by three wickets before a 31,550-strong crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday.
Chasing a big score of 200, they started badly and lost early wickets. Mitchell Johnson gave the Kings a quick breakthrough by removing Robin Uthappa cheaply. Uthappa (5) sliced a ball outside off straight to point, while trying to drive it.
Manish Pandey then came to the crease to join Gautam Gambhir (23) and tried to steady things. But then, Gambhir fell, trying to give leggie Karanveer Singh the charge on his first ball. David Miller pouched it, running in from long on.
After that, Pandey set the stage for his teams victory, hitting seven fours and six sixes to get to 94 in 50 balls. Yusuf Pathan (36) gave him good company, putting up 71 runs in 44 balls.
But then, Karanveer struck again. He got Pandey to slice one to cover while trying to hit against the turn, leaving the match wide open.
Shakib al Hasan (12) came out charging but his stay was cut short by a brilliant throw from David Miller.
The next over saw yet another setback for Kolkata, with Ryan ten Doeschate leaving for 4. Doeschate tried to haul Pandey out of the park, didn't get the elevation and pushed it down Millers throat at the ropes.
The last ball of the over stunned the Kolkata dugout when Pandey finally left. He tried to clear cover but ended up in Miller's safe hands.
To further put the crowds into a tizzy, Johnson picked up a wicket and gave 3 runs in the first five balls. Just 11 was needed off seven balls with Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine at the crease.
And then Chawla came to the party, hitting Johnson for a six. It was fitting that the final runs came off his bat. Parvinnder Awana will forever remember the moment when Chawla hit him for a four to win the match with three runs to spare.
In the earlier innings, a brilliant unbeaten century by Wriddhiman Saha got Kings XI Punjab to 199/4 in their 20 overs. Saha, who hit 10 fours and eight sixes on his way to 115 off 55 balls, also shared a mammoth 129-run partnership off 72 balls with Manan Vohra (67).
Punjab started on a bad note, losing wickets early on. Virender Sehwag (7) was the first to fall when he tried to pull an Umesh Yadav delivery, which was not short enough. He got a thick edge, easily taken by Gautam Gambhir at mid-off.
One over later, George Bailey (1) departed when Gambhir brought on Sunil Naraine. Naraine struck with his first ball, when Bailey missed a straight ball and got bowled behind his leg.
Vohra (67) and Saha then came to the crease. They hit the big shots and topped them with cheeky singles.
The sixteenth over by Naraine saw high drama. First, Naraine dropped Saha on the third ball. The very next ball, keeper Robin Uthappa whipped off Vohra's bails, but his gloves were in front of the stumps when he collected the ball, so it was given a no ball. Vohra said thank you by hitting the next ball for a four.
Piyush Chawla gave Kolkata a much-needed break in the 18th over. First, he removed Vohra, catching him off his own bowling. Chawla almost grassed the top edge, but finally managed to latch on to it in the end.
He removed Glenn Maxwell for a golden duck on the last ball of the over. The Aussie tried to reverse sweep on the first ball and holed out to short third man.
Kolkat Knight Riders Innings: