I’m not sure how many cheering reached the owner’s ears amidst the sea of yellow, but surely the prayers of thousands of Kolkatans were answered. And this time it was not Gautam Gambhir, not Sunil Narine, neither the much fancied Yusuf Pathan, but a rookie from Haryana by the name Manvinder Bisla who got into the team by a matter of chance.
It was a Sunday evening. The Big Finale of a big tournament. Dhoni does not lose them. It was a good toss to win by the Chennai Super Kings captain. Things were going his way when Murali Vijay and birthday boy Mike Hussey built up a healthy partnership. They plundered Brett Lee’s third over for 19 runs. Rajat Bhatia drew the first blood when Vijay was dismissed. Shakib-ul-Hasan took a scintillating catch at the boundary by diving to his left. What the fall of the wicket did was that it brought out Suresh Raina to the crease who can play the big innings. He did justice to his talent by picking up fours and sixes at will. He even smacked Sunil Narine, the most economical bowler of the tournament.
A slower ball from Jacques Kallis saw the end of Mike Hussey. Amidst huge cheering, M.S. Dhoni took guard and seemed quite happy to play the second fiddle to Suresh Raina who happened to give away his wicket in the last ball of this innings. The scoreboard read 190-3. The target was 191, an uphill task for the Knights.
The task just got stiffer when KKR lost Gambhir in the last ball of the first over. It was 3-1. KKR fans thought that the trophy had slipped out. The ever-so-reliable Kallis came to crease. He not only needed to build a partnership with Bisla, but also needed to score at a brisk rate. Kallis dropped the anchor and Bisla did the firing. Very soon KKR was cruising. Shah Rukh Khan was egging his men, as victory was within sniffing distance. MS Dhoni lost his trademark coolness and had a very animated conversation with the players during the time-out.
The 14th over off Albie Morkel saw the end of Bisla, who fell 11 runs short of what could have been a dream century. Laxmi Ratan Shukla came to the crease and the situation demanded him to continue the good work of his team-mate. However, he perished soon off Dwayne Bravo. The semi-final hero for the KKR, Yusuf was the next man to arrive. Quite inexplicably he skied the ball and gifted his wicket. He departed without disturbing the scorekeepers. KKR had suddenly slipped to 164-4.
Shakib joined Kallis. Kallis put up a fight although he suffered from cramps. But in the process, the team lost a few runs. However, Ben Hilfenhaus brought about the end of the South African all-rounder in the fifth ball of the 19th over. It was 175-5. 16 were required from 7. It seemed that after doing all the hard work, things were slipping away from the grip of the Knights.
But the ultimate ball of the penultimate over had something else in store. Ben delivered a high full toss. Shakib lofted it and was caught by Vijay. The death knell? Well, hang on! The full toss was a little too high — high enough to be called a no-ball! An extra ball, an extra run. The last ball went for a four; seven came off the last ball. This brought the equation to 9 off 6, with the newcomer Manoj Tiwari at the crease. After taking two singles, Tiwari dispatch the last two balls to the square fence. The match was sealed.
It sent SRK cartwheeling. The wait was over. KKR was the champions. The skies of Chenpauk were decorated with fireworks, so were the streets of Kolkata. The team played the tournament in a fantastic fashion and proved that the war-cry ‘Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo’ had more significance than just being a ring tone. Kolkatans enjoyed themselves at the good news.
There was another good news which perhaps went unnoticed. The finals of DLF-IPL 6 2013 will be played at the more deserving Eden Gardens. Kolkata, gear up for next year!