Suresh Raina on Saturday hit a blistering century pulverising Kolkata Knight Riders into submission as Chennai Super Kings exacted a sweet revenge clinching the Champions League T20 in style with a eight-wicket victory in a thoroughly one-sided final. (Highlights | Scorecard | Pics)
Chasing a competitive total of 181, Raina smashed the daylights out of a depleted KKR attack without Sunil Narine, scoring a breathtaking 109 off 62 balls with the help of six fours and eight sixes. His century came off only 59 balls.
Fitting enough, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished the match with a flourish as he hit successive sixes off Yusuf Pathan as CSK won with nine balls to spare. (Gambhir Proud of Record-Breaking KKR)
This was CSK's first trophy in three years having last won the IPL and CLT20 in South Africa, back in 2011. CSK lost the IPL final to KKR in 2012 and also lost twice to them in IPL this year.
Raina, one of the finest players of the shorter format made mincemeat of a KKR attack that looked psychologically down with mystery spinner Narine already on his flight back to Port of Spain. Raina is now the only player to score a century in T20 internationals, IPL and CLT20 tournaments.
As it has been for Raina in a yellow jersey, where he has rarely failed, the UP left-hander gave a perfect exhibition of how to play on a track that offers turn.
Raina's footwork against spinners was out of the coaching manual as he came to the pitch of the deliveries and effortlessly lifted the spinners like Piyush Chawla (0/38 in 3 overs) and Kuldeep Yadav (0/44 in 4 overs) into the second tier of the Chinnaswamy stadium.
In fact, Raina spoilt the party for young chinaman bowler Kuldeep, who on Saturday got a maiden call-up into the Indian ODI side.
Thrice, Kuldeep was lofted into the stands as Raina danced down the track and negated the turn, teaching the teenager a lesson about playing top-flight cricket.
He added 118 runs in only 12.2 overs with Brendon McCullum, who scored 39 off 30 balls and 58 off 5.2 overs with Dhoni. Needless to say, Raina was the dominant partner in both the stands.
Earlier, unheralded left-arm spinner Pawan Negi bowled brilliantly for his maiden five-for as Chennai Super Kings restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to 180 for six even as skipper Gautam Gambhir smashed a 52-ball-80.
The diminutive 21-year-old Delhi boy, who is not even a regular in his state squad having played only two first-class games in three years, grabbed five for 22 in four overs as he put spanner in KKR's plans of getting a 200-plus score.
Being put into bat, KKR skipper Gambhir led from the front as he added 91 for the opening stand with Robin Uthappa (39). Gambhir's innings had seven fours and three sixes.
Towards the end, it was young Manish Pandey, who played a cameo scoring 32 off only 19 balls and Yusuf Pathan (20 off 9 balls), who hit a few lusty blows to take the IPL champions to the 180-run mark.
With the Chinnaswamy strip offering significant turn and bounce, Negi did trouble the batsmen as he got the wickets of Uthappa and Jacques Kallis in his first spell and then got rid of Pandey, Ryan ten Doeschate (0) and Kuldeep Yadav (0) in a space of five deliveries in the penultimate over.
However, credit should be given to CSK bowlers as they made a good comeback having gone for 89 runs in the first 10 wicketless overs. In the back-10, they conceded only 91 runs taking six wickets in the process.
The KKR openers broke free in the second over where both Gambhir and Uthappa got boundaries off Mohit Sharma as 13 runs came in that over.
The 50 came in 5.4 overs as both Uthappa and Gambhir used their feet against the star spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Uthappa infact elegantly lifted Ashwin over long-on while Gambhir also lofted Jadeja for the first of his three sixes as Dwayne Bravo tried an acrobatic catch.
Uthappa on the other end was looking good before Negi fooled him with a flighted delivery. The batsman gave him the charge but was beaten by the turn after pitching as Dhoni completed easiest of stumpings.
Gambhir completed a well-deserved 50 off 35 balls with a nice tap off his hips off Jadeja as Raina at short fine leg failing to spot the ball.
While Kallis (1) didn't last long, Gambhir and Pandey did have a fruitful partnership as the senior left-hander hit Negi for a big six and picked the slower one from Bravo for his third six.
Just when he was looking good for a century, a tired looking heave off Jadeja brought about his downfall as Brendon McCullum took a nice catch.
Pandey hit a couple of fours and sixes as he took the score past 150 before Negi again put brakes in scoring in the penultimate over where he gave away only two runs and but more importantly took three wickets.
It was then left to Yusuf Pathan to hit Ashish Nehra for two fours and a six off the final over as he gave KKR a chance to put up a fighting score.