In a team which boasts of power-hitters like Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell, one cricketer rose to the occasion and hit big in a match that mattered the most - IPL 2014 final against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday. Bengal cricketer Wriddhiman Saha smashed 115 not out off 55 balls to take charge against the 2012 champions. Saha's innings contained 10 fours and 8 sixes. He was supported well by Manan Vohra who scored 67 off 52 balls. (Scorecard | Match updates)
The 129-run partnership for the third wicket was crucial in lifting Punjab after the Kolkata bowlers had made early inroads. Virender Sehwag and skipper George Bailey failed to make an impact and were dismissed inside six overs. With Punjab on 30/2 in 5.1, overs Saha and Vohra combined to repair the damage and steady the innings. (Also see pics: How Bangalore welcomed KKR and KXIP)
While Punjab managed just 58 in the first 10 overs, their lowest this season, both batsmen kept the bowlers at bay until they reached their respective fifties. Once they went past their half-centuries, they switched gears to propel the innings.
Saha, who has batted at almost every batting position for Punjab and has three IPL 2014 fifties now, had a bit of luck when he was spilled on 60 by Sunil Narine. Fortune favours the brave though and at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday, there was no one as fearless as this 29-year-old from Siliguri.
Even after losing Vohra in the 18th over and then witnessing Maxwell score a rare first-ball duck, Saha appeared unflustered and held the fort for Punjab to help the side post a total of 199/4.