Sunil Narine and Suryakumar Yadav leap in the air as their teammates close in to celebrate the fall of a wicket on Sunday. (Bangalore News Photo)
Metro tracks the mood swing through the IPL final between KKR and Kings XI Punjab
Preity Zinta said she was nervous and her team looked ruffled from the start.
At the toss, Punjab captain George Bailey said he didn’t know what he would have done had they won the toss.
The feel-good factor was missing and it showed in Virender Sehwag’s expression and batting. He left early for 7 off 10 balls.
Bailey, who walked in at three instead of Wriddhiman Saha, was the next to go. KKR looked set to strangle the opposition like the way they have done in this edition of the IPL.
“When Wriddhi came out to join Vohra, it was two youngsters at the crease and with Maxwell in awful form, we felt sure Kings would choke. As Bailey walked back, we exchanged a spontaneous high five,” said Shatadru Mitra, 27, a botanist, who was watching the match with brother Sagnik.
KKR kept things tight for the next few overs, buoyed by the arrival of Shah Rukh Khan in the stands in the eighth over.
Calcutta has by now started believing their batsmen would easily knock off whatever the Kings put up.
But from the 11th over onwards, the scoring rocketed and in the 60 balls that followed, Punjab got 141 runs at 14.1 to the over. Saha got going for the second consecutive match against KKR and Vohra did a proficient supporting job. Morne Morkel and Sunil Narine conceded 19 and 20 runs in the 14th and 15th overs, respectively.
“I couldn’t believe that Wriddhiman (115 not out) could play so many shots. I guess, no one did,” said Ronald Subhadip Bhowmick, catching the action with friends.
KKR were off to sordid start despite losing Robin Uthappa, the in-form Knight.
The other Knights were in no mood to let things slip. Manish Pandey came out blazing and captain Gautam Gambhir fired some classic drives. KKR finished the powerplays at a much better 59/1 with the required run rate at 10.
Gambhir hit the first ball after powerplay and got swallowed in the deep. Both openers gone, the 160-odd runs left to get, looked a long way away. But in the very next ball, Manish reminded everyone that he was still there and sent leggie Karanveer Singh flying over the ropes.
Runs kept pouring with Pathan and Manish at the crease. The Knights were rocking and Pathan rocked the Punjab boat with two back-to-back sixes off Karanveer in the 8th over. The asking rate was 10.6. With Pathan at the crease, the KKR fans believed.
KKR took a rocket ride in the second half of the innings. Manish hammered Parwinder Awana for two sixes and a four to collect 18 runs of the over.
The throne in the flesh was Akshar Patel. Only three runs came off his over, the 12th, and the required rate climbed to 11.25. As KKR fans began to worry, Pathan made Laxmipathy Balaji concede 18 runs that included two sixes. But Just as things look settled, Pathan holed out. Manish kept going. At the end of the 15th over, the required rate was under 9, and manageable by T20 standards.
Shakib hit Aksar for a four but Bailey’s brilliance in the field claimed his scalp next ball. When Ryan ten Doeschate strode in, the target was 44 runs off 28 balls.
Ryan perished in the deep soon after and faces shrunk when Manish too was caught in the deep. To make matters worse, Suryakumar Yadav was out with 13 runs to go. But a six by Piyush Chawla off the last ball of the 19th more or less sealed it.
Five balls off six in the last over: Chawla completed the formalities with a boundary over point. Calcutta let out a collective shriek. Fireworks lit up the sky.