By BV Swagath
Kolkata Knight Riders clinched the IPL for the second time after beating Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling encounter at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. It was a high-quality final which had several twists and turns and it produced unlikely heroes in Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey. Eventually, it seemed that the Kings XI Punjab bowling was just too weak to defend even a big total of 200.
Earlier in the evening, it looked as if Kings XI Punjab had got off to a poor start with not much of momentum going into the last 10 overs following the cheap dismissals of Virender Sehwag and Skipper George Bailey. However, Manan Vohra and Wriddiman Saha changed gears and brought up their respective half centuries.
Manan Vohra ended up with 67 from 52 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes while leaving Kings XI Punjab well placed at 159 for 3 in 17.1 overs. Wriddhiman Saha provided a great finish all on his own by cracking an unbeaten 115 from 55 balls with 10 fours and 8 sixes.
KKR chasing 200 were written off especially after the first over dismissal of the man in form Robin Uthappa. Skipper Gambhir could only chip in with 23 from 17 balls. KKR despite losing a couple of wickets had a decent momentum thanks to Manish Pandey. Yusuf Pathan joined the local boy and with four sixes in a 22-ball 36 put Kolkata Knight Riders in control.
Manish Pandey took KKR within the brink with a great knock of 94 from 50 balls with 7 fours and half a dozen sixes. Every time KKR lost a wicket, Pandey neutralized KXIP’s advantage with a big six. Towards the end, KKR needed a crucial cameo of 13* from 5 balls with a four and a six from Piyush Chawla to scrape through home with a 3-wicket win with three balls to spare.
Pandey as expected was the Man of the Match while Glenn Maxwell got the Player of the Series award.
Toss and Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders have won the toss and chose to bowl first against Kings XI Punjab in the Final of IPL 7 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
KKR who defeated Kings XI Punjab in Qualifier 1 to reach the final go in with the same team. Kings XI Punjab have made one change opting for the experienced L Balaji in place of Sandeep Sharma.