Kolkata are crowned IPL kings
The Indian Premier League has a new winner after the Kolkata Knight Riders triumphed in a thrilling contest with the Chennai Super Kings.
The Knight Riders were the whipping boys of the early IPL seasons, and they completed their transformation in style as they chased down a testing target of 191 to win by five wickets with just two balls to spare.
Their sensational run chase owed a huge amount to the clean hitting of Manvinder Bisla, who was only selected after Lakshmipathy Balaji's absence through injury forced Kolkata to change the composition of their team, with Brendon McCullum left out because of Brett Lee's inclusion.
Bisla silenced the home crowd with five sixes and eight fours as he continually charged the Chennai bowlers on his way to a 48-ball 89 which quickly erased the disappointment of Gautam Gambhir's early dismissal.
The Kolkata skipper has been the bedrock of the Kolkata line-up this season, and when he was bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus in the first over, Kolkata's chase appeared doomed.
However Bisla stepped up to the plate with a flurry of boundaries off Morne Morkel in the fourth over, which changed the momentum of the game.
Jacques Kallis provided the support required in a 136-run partnership that put the Knight Riders ahead of the asking rate, leaving them favourites even after a tired Bisla wafted a catch to backward point in the 15th over.
Kallis ignored the quick dismissals of Laxmi Shukla and Yusuf Pathan to keep the Knight Riders on track, but the game took another turn when the South African suffered from cramp in the 18th over and was left unable to run more than singles.
He duly holed out for 69 in the next over to leave the game in the balance, as Kolkata went into the final over requiring nine runs to deny Chennai a third straight title.
The matter was settled when Dwayne Bravo served up two low full tosses on Manoj Tiwary's legs, which the new batsmen dispatched to the backward square-leg boundary to confirm Kolkata's status as champions.
Chennai had maintained control throughout their innings after Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay put on 87 for the first wicket at a good rate, which set the tone for the remainder of the knock.
A solid start was turned into an excellent one in the sixth over when the pair took 19 runs off Lee's third over to leave Chennai on 54 without loss from the powerplay overs.
And they didn't take their foot off the gas, even when the tricky spinner Sunil Narine was introduced, until Vijay (42) was finally undone by a Rajat Bhatia slower ball and was well caught by Shakib Al Hasan on the square-leg boundary.
Hussey continued the assault and found another ally in Suresh Raina, who hammered five sixes to maintain Chennai's charge in a 73-run alliance with Hussey.
Kallis, who was the pick of the Kolkata bowlers as he sweated away in the heat, finally brought Hussey's knock to an end shortly after the Australian had passed fifty, as the slower ball pegged back middle stump.
Hussey was replaced by MS Dhoni, and he and Raina showed scant respect for Narine as the West Indian went for an unusually expensive 37 in his four overs. Narine needed two wickets to pass Morne Morkel at the top of the list of IPL5 wicket-takers, but was unable to take any.
Raina was out off the last ball of the innings, caught in the deep by Lee for 73 from just 38 balls, while Dhoni finished unbeaten on 14 from nine deliveries.