Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate with the trophy after their victory against Kings XI Punjab in the IPL final match at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. (Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)
Not a man moved. A few in the stands clapped nervously, the faces in both the dugouts had gone pale. Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir still had his pads on; George Bailey had his hands on his waist at short covers. It was the scene when the 18th over started.
Even though wickets were falling at the other end, Knight Riders' Manish Pandey was making the chase of 200 look easy. But, with the equation 21 off 18 balls, he had just got out to leave the game open.
To make it even more gripping, Mitchell Johnson, bowling at full steam, sent back Surya Kumar Yadav at 187 to make it 13 required off 10 balls with three wickets in hand. Johnson kept it tight for the next three balls.
But with 11 needed off 7 balls Johnson decided to bounce Piyush Chawla.
The batsman hooked it for a six to tilt the game back in favour of Kolkata Knight Riders. With five remaining off six, Chawla finished the game with a four to cover point.
Batsmen do it for KKR in the final
In a fitting finale, KKR successfully chased 200 for seven to deny Kings XI in the seventh final of the Indian Premier League played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
It was Knight Riders bowling attack that was to power them to the trophy, but the batsmen rose to the occasion when the pressure was on. It was a fantastic game and the stars of Sunday night were Manish Pandey and Wriddhiman Saha. Pandey's 94 off 50 balls negated the heroics of Saha. The latter would go back with his head held high.
Not a supporting role anymore
At best, Saha was expected to play a supporting role, to the likes of Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. The man from Kolkata, however, had different ideas. From a fringe player, he used the IPL final stage, to transform himself into a star.
Known more for his ability with the gloves, and being at a stage of his career, the innings is unlikely to change much for Saha, except that it will fetch him a bigger price tag for the next auction.
It was the kind of night he has lived and toiled throughout his career for. Just like Manvinder Bisla's one off did for KKR two years ago.
Saha was provided solid support by another unheralded local talent, Manan Vora. The duo put on 129 runs for the third wicket as Punjab finished on 199 for four.