Bangalore: Manish Pandey's innings made sure Wriddhiman Saha's valiant knock of 115 not out went in vain as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by three wickets to clinch their second Indian Premier League (IPL) title at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here Sunday. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Put in to bat, the Kings XI were powered to a strong total of 199/4 by Saha's maiden and brilliant century after they suffered an early setback. In reply, Pandey's 94 anchored the 2012 edition champions to victory with only three balls to spare.
The Kolkata-based outfit becomes only the second team to win two titles after the Chennai Super Kings in 2010 and 2011.
Kings XI didn't get off to a good start and were reeling at 30/2 in the sixth over. Veteran opener Virender Sehwag, who hammered an impeccable 122 against the Super Kings in Qualifier 2 Friday, disappointed the fans by getting out for a paltry 7 off 10 deliveries.
Captain George Bailey (1) surprised everyone when he promoted himself to first down but completely misread Sunil Narine's delivery to get bowled.
Opener Manan Vohra (67) and wicketkeeper-batsman Saha tried to steady the ship thereon. Though the run rate was only run-a-ball, the duo made sure the team didn't more wickets.
Slowly the two kept consolidating their partnership and really opened up post the 12th over when they hammered the Knight Riders' bowlers left, right and centre.
While Vohra got out after contributing to a brilliant 129-run third-wicket partnership off 12 overs, Saha upped the ante to take Kings XI to a challenging total with his brilliant display of batting against his former team.
Vohra scored 67 off 52 balls with six fours and two sixes. Saha, on the other hand, hit an incredible 10 fours and eight sixes in his 55-ball innings with an incredible strike rate of 209.09.
Bangladeshi spinner Shakib Al Hasan did not take any wickets but was the only bowler to boast decent bowling figures with 4-0-26-0. All other Knight Riders bowlers went for at least 9.75 per over.
In reply, the 2012 edition champions didn't get a dream start as star opener Robin Uthappa got out for 4 in the first over. Gambhir (23), in order to accelerate, also perished just after the end of power play.
However, Pandey joined hands with explosive batsman Yusuf Pathan to first steady their innings and then steered them in the direction of their target by putting together a 71-run partnership.
Pathan got out after hitting four sixes in his 22-ball 36 but the 24-year-old Pandey kept going despite running out of partners. Shakib Al Hasan (12), Ryan ten Doeschate, Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav (5) got out in quick succession but Piyush Chawla kept his nerves in the end to take his team home.
The left hander hammered a six off pacer Mitchell Johnson to bring down the required score to 5 runs from the last over. Chawla needed just three more balls to finish off the match for his side.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 199/4 in 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 115 not out, Manan Vohra 67, Virender Sehwag 7; Piyush Chawla 2/44, Umesh Yadav 1/39, Sunil Narine 1/46) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 200/7 in 19.3 overs (Manish Pandey 94, Yusuf Pathan 36, Gautam Gambhir 23; Karanveer Singh 4/54, Mitchell Johnson 2/41).