Sunday, June 1, 2008
Rajasthan Royals wins the IPL T20 Final Against Chennai Super Kings(IMAGES)
Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings [Images] by three wickets (and off the last ball) in the final of the inaugural Indian Premier League at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 164, Rajasthan began on a disastrous note, losing three wickets inside seven overs with just 42 runs on the board.
Niraj Patel (2) was cleaned up by Manpreet Gony in the fourth over and Swapnil Asnodkar (29) and Kamran Akmal (6) were dismissed in the space of three balls (of an Albie Morkel over), the latter needlessly run-out.
However, the in-form duo of Shane Watson (28) and Yusuf Pathan (56) put on 65 runs in just 45 balls for the fourth wicket in a partnership that brought Rajasthan back in the game.
Watson was impressive in his 19-ball knock, which had three hits to the fence, before he was cleaned up by a beautiful delivery from Muralitharan.
The Sri Lankan also snapped up Mohammad Kaif (12) off his final delivery (the last ball of the 17th over) and Morkel dismissed Ravindra Jadeja (0) with the very next delivery to brighten Chennai's prospects.
Rajasthan were precariously placed at 139 for six, needing 25 runs with 17 balls left.
Then the worse happened. Pathan, who surived three chances to post his fourth half century of the tournament, saw his luck run out finally.
Pathan, whose 39-ball knock contained three hits to the fence and four huge ones over it, was run-out to a direct hit by Suresh Raina.
But Rajasthan captain Shane Warne was not to be denied his moment of glory.
Rajasthan needed 18 runs off the last two overs and eight from the final over, bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Warne (9 not out) and Sohail Tanvir (12 not out) took their team home, the latter hitting a boundary off the last ball.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals used their bowling resources intelligently to restrict Chennai Super Kings to a modest 163 for five wickets.
Royals skipper Warne won the toss, asked the rival team to bat first and then captained the side imaginatively with his field placings and bowling changes, never allowing the Super Kings to settle down on a slow-pace track.
The Super Kings owed their score mainly to an enterprising 43 by in-form one-down batsman Suresh Raina, who faced only 30 balls while hitting two pulled sixes and a four.
The UP left-hander, back in the Indian one-day team, built on a decent start of 39 in 5.2 overs provided by Parthiv Patel (38 in 33 balls) and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan (16 in 14 balls).
But his dismissal in the 17th over, when he threatened to cut loose, derailed Chennai's plans for a more healthy total.
The most impressive bowler for the Royals was off-spinner Pathan, who grabbed three for 22 in two spells, while Watson accounted for the wicket of Raina.
The Super Kings, who had lost their two home and away ties earlier in the tournament against the same opposition, began their innings on a cautious note on a slow-paced track of low bounce on which the ball did not come on freely to the bat.
Parthiv and Sivaramakrishnan played it safe against Tanvir, who had grabbed six for 14 against them on May 4 at Jaipur.
Seeing the mood of the two openers, Warne removed the Pakistani left-arm pacer, the most successful bowler in the tournament, after only one over.
The run-rate perked up when Vidyut played an inside-out cover drive off Watson and then was lucky when his top-edge flew over the third man fence for a six.
Parthiv, coming into the match on the back of an unbeaten 51 last night in the semifinal against Punjab King's XI, was content to see off Tanvir by facing five dot balls and then hitting his first four. He was also lucky to see his top edge off Munaf Patel race to the fence.
Warne replaced Watson with Pathan after five overs, in which 39 runs were scored, and the move paid off immediately when Vidyut pulled a short ball for Jadeja to bring off a fine front-diving catch at mid-on.
Warne rung in quick bowling changes to unsettle the second wicket duo of Parthiv and fellow left-hander Raina, who had powered their team to a nine-wicket win over Punjab King's XI with an unbeaten century stand.
The 50 of the innings was raised in the seventh over and then Parthiv, after pulling off spinner Pathan for his fifth four, departed. He edged an attempted off-glide to wicket keeper Akmal who juggled with the ball before completing the catch.
In-form Raina, who made 54 not out against Deccan Chargers in his team's last preliminary phase tie and followed it up with 55 not out against Punjab, continued his good run by stroking the ball well. He was hardly troubled by the spinners and pulled the great Warne for a six.
Morkel (16) also pulled Warne disdainfully for a six into the stands in the 12th over after the first 10 had yielded 75 runs. The South African all-rounder also swung Pathan over mid-wicket for his second six before he got out in the same over, 13th of the innings.
In trying to repeat the shot he ballooned a catch to stumper Akmal who took a tumble over Mohd Kaif, who also went for the ball, while managing to hold on to the sphere to provide Pathan his third wicket.
The 100 came up in 80 balls after which Raina swung Siddharth Trivedi, bowling his second spell, for a six. Later skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29 not out in 17 balls) lofted Warne, bowling his last over, over the straight field for another six to take Chennai Super Kings to 117 for three with five overs remaining.
Raina fell in trying to clear the long off area and was caught just inside the rope by Jadeja after which Dhoni and Chamara Kapugedara added 20 runs before the latter holed out to the deep off Tanvir in the last over.
Dhoni, who hit a straight second six in Tanvir's last over, and S Badrinath (6) remained unbeaten at the end of the innings.
Rajasthan were without opener Graeme Smith and made two changes to the side which won the semifinal against Delhi Daredevils while Chennai retained the side that won them the semi final against Punjab King's XI.