Kolkata Knight Riders (200/7) defeated Kings XI Punjab (199/4) by three wickets to win the 2014 Pepsi Indian Premier League, their second IPL title in the team's history.
After the victory, their official Twitter account shared the deserved excitement:
Knight Riders batsmen came through when they needed to the most, scoring plenty of runs in the middle overs to set up a dramatic finish.
As shared by Freddie Wilde, fans were obviously excited for the final, the culmination of an exciting season of IPL cricket:
History was on the side of Punjab for the team to win their first title:
In 2008 RR beat CSK 3 times & won the IPL. In 2013 MI beat CSK 3 times & won the IPL. This year KXIP have beaten CSK 3 times... Omen?— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 1, 2014
Kings XI made changes to their order and started their innings slowly, with early dismissals for Virender Sehwag (seven runs from 10 balls) and George Bailey (one from two) threatening their chances.
|Virender Sehwag||c Gautam Gambhir b Umesh Yadav||7||10||70.00||1||0|
|Manan Vohra||c & b Piyush Chawla||67||52||128.84||6||2|
|George Bailey||b Sunil Narine||1||2||50.00||0||0|
|Wriddhiman Saha||NOT OUT||115||55||209.09||10||8|
|Glenn Maxwell||c Morne Morkel b Piyush Chawla||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|David Miller||NOT OUT||1||1||100.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(nb 1, w 3, lb 4)||8|
|TOTAL||(4 wickets; 20 overs)||199||TOTAL||(4 wickets; 20 overs)||199||TOTAL|
|Shakib Al Hasan||4||26||0||6.50||7|
The duo of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller were pushed down the order, and the results in the early proceedings weren't pretty. Morne Morkel (four overs, 40 runs) and Sunil Narine (four overs, 46 runs, one wicket) appeared to be in full control during the first few overs, and the powerplay didn't go well for Punjab.
Wilde shared this statistic:
Alternative Cricket also didn't agree with the decision to push Maxwell down the order, despite his lack of form:
Maxwell's match-winning knocks have come when he's had time to bat in the PowerPlay and build an innings. Rubbish from Punjab!— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) June 1, 2014
But Manan Vohra made up for Sehwag's early dismissal with 67 from 52, and Wriddhiman Saha's contribution of 115 from 55 not out was simply monstrous.
Narine in particular suddenly started to struggle, and Punjab took full advantage. Per Wilde, Saha's output set a new IPL finals record:
The difference between the early and middle overs was incredible, as Knight Riders' bowlers really lost their way:
Saha and Vohra kept up their incredible pace, and their production was very much needed, as Maxwell and Miller were held to just a single run between the two of them, setting a target of 200.
Kolkata's vaunted bowling attack really let them down during Punjab's innings, and when it was their time to bat, they knew the chase would be a difficult one. Kings XI couldn't celebrate yet, however, as shared by the team's Twitter account:
In-form Robin Uthappa started well with a four from the very first delivery, but he was caught on just his third ball and contributed no more than five runs.
Gautam Gambhir (23) and Manish Pandey started to get into a rhythm, both players feeling comfortable against Punjab's spin-bowling as they kept pace with the required run rate.
|Robin Uthappa||c Akshar Patel b Mitchell Johnson||5||3||166.66||1||0|
|Gautam Gambhir||c David Miller b Karanveer Singh||23||17||135.29||3||0|
|Manish Pandey||c George Bailey b Karanveer Singh||94||50||188.00||7||6|
|Yusuf Pathan||c Glenn Maxwell b Karanveer Singh||36||22||163.63||0||4|
|Shakib Al Hasan||run out (George Bailey)||12||7||171.42||2||0|
|Ryan ten Doeschate||c David Miller b Karanveer Singh||4||3||133.33||1||0|
|Suryakumar Yadav||c Manan Vohra b Mitchell Johnson||5||6||83.33||0||0|
|Piyush Chawla||NOT OUT||13||5||260.00||1||1|
|Sunil Narine||NOT OUT||2||4||50.00||0||0|
|TOTAL||(7 wickets; 19.3 overs)||200||TOTAL||(7 wickets; 19.3 overs)||200||TOTAL|
Punjab's bowling wasn't seen as their strongest feature coming into this final, but inspired by the young Akshar Patel (four overs, 21 runs), Kings XI started to get a grip on the match in the middle overs. Facing Pandey and Yusuf Pathan, it looked like the chase would be decided at this stage.
The smaller pitch at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium favours batsmen, however, giving Kolkata a chance to complete a 200-run chase. Pathan's power shone bright, but he was caught by Maxwell, scoring 36 from 22. With 30 balls still to be bowled, Kings XI's Twitter account summed up the situation:
Pandey kept up the good work finding the boundaries, but team-mates Shakib Al Hasan (12) and Ryan ten Doeschate (4) were forced to take too many chances, the chase coming down to the wire. Punjab's fielding was making the difference, and Pandey eventually found his end at the hands of Bailey, going for 94 from 50.
Kolkata showed great patience in the last overs, and a six from Piyush Chawla on the last ball of the penultimate over left the team needing just five from six balls. Chawla kept his composure and finished the match with a four, completing an epic chase to give his team the championship.
Pathan told ESPN Cricinfo he was very happy with the win, particularly after he got dismissed in a clumsy way:
"I shouldn't have played that shot. We might have finished the match two overs earlier."
Shakib kept his comments short and simple:
"Two times in three years. Can't feel better!"
Kolkata started IPL7 slowly but won their final nine matches, as the team's batsmen were able to take advantage of sensational bowling from Morkel and Narine. With those two struggling in the final, Knight Riders showed everyone they were the most complete team, completing a massive chase of 200.
The team will join Punjab as favourites for the T20 Champions League later this season, as both teams go looking for their very first win in that competition.