Suresh Raina once again showed why he is called Chennai's 'Mr Consistent' as he blasted his maiden Champions League Twenty20 hundred against Kolkata Knight Riders in the final on Saturday. Chennai beat Kolkata by a comfortable 8-wicket margin to win their second CLT20 title as Raina also took the honour of the highest run-scorer in the tournament. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Chasing a challenging 181 to win, Chennai were dealt a major blow when Pat Cummins knocked over Dwayne Smith in the first over of the match. However, the duo of Raina and McCullum had other plans as they put on a solid 118-run partnership for the second wicket to completely take the game away from IPL-7 champions Kolkata. Raina was later named the Man of the Series.
Raina's knock of 109 not out was laced with six fours and eight sixes. In the 13th over of the match, Raina even took on Kolkata's successful chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and put him away for two colossal sixes. Kuldeep had on Saturday been selected in the Indian ODI squad for the upcoming West Indies series. Raina is now the only player to score a century in T20 internationals, IPL and CLT20 tournaments.
However, Raina was his humble best at the post-match ceremony, saying he had learnt how to build a good innings from currently out-of-form Virat Kohli and how to finish from axed Yuvraj Singh.
"I have seen Virat Kohli bat and hit big hundreds and I have learnt from him that you can't throw it away. I have also learnt a lot from Yuvraj on how to finish an innings. In the last seven years, I have played with (Stephen) Fleming, (Matthew) Hayden, (Michael) Hussey.. and I have learnt from them on how to build an innings," said Raina.
Missing Narine because of a suspect action controversy, Kolkata looked completely out of sorts as Raina effortlessly cleared the boundaries on a consistent basis for Chennai.
Ahead of the CLT20 competition, Raina had been the lone star for the Indian team during a disastrous tour of England. The Chennai batsman had recovered some lost ground for the visitors by hitting a century in the 2nd match of the ODI series, which India won 3-1.