Manvinder Singh Bisla and Jacques Kallis hit half-centuries to help Kolkata Knight Riders outclass defending champions Chennai Super Kings by five wickets in a nerve-wracking final to win their maiden IPL title, in Chennai, on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff target of 191, Bisla shone with the bat, smashing the Chennai bowlers to all corners of the M A Chidambaram stadium to notch 89 off only 48 balls, with the help of eight fours and five sixes.
He was ably supported by Jacques Kallis, who brought all his experience into play to score a quick 69 from 49 balls, before an injury hampered him late in the innings.
Manoj Tiwary hit Dwayne Bravo for successive boundaries through the square leg region to take the team to victory with two balls to spare in a thrilling finish.
The day, however, belonged to Bisla, who would not have played the final had Laxmipathy Balaji not suffered a hamstring injury. The decision to drop Brendon McCullum was widely debated, but Bisla put all the speculation to rest and emerged an unlikely hero among the galaxy of stars with his attacking innings.
Despite losing Gautam Gambhir early, Kolkata never lost the momentum as Bisla played a blinder, attacking right from the word go to help his team maintain a good rate throughout. Four boundaries of an Albie Morkel over set the tone and couple of clean sixes off Ravichandran Ashwin meant that Kolkata kept a good run rate right from the start.
Bisla's 50 came off only 27 balls and he then hit Dwayne Bravo for two sixes to continue his attacking approach.
The calm Kallis was ready to drop anchor as he nudged the singles and rotated the strike with ease. Bisla's fifth six was a majestic one off Ashwin over extra cover as the off-spinner struggle continued.
The duo added 136 runs for the second wicket before Bisla tried to cut Morkel over point and was caught there.
Bisla departed with 52 still to get but Kallis ensured that Kolkata didn't lose momentum. Finally, it was Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary who held their nerves to seal the issue.
Earlier, it was Raina's blitzkrieg and Hussey's mature innings that helped defending champions Chennai Super Kings post a commendable 190 for three after winning the toss.
Hussey (54, 43 balls, 4x4, 2x6) along with Murali Vijay (42, 32 balls, 4x4, 1x6) set the platform with a blistering opening partnership of 87 runs.
Raina attacked from the start, scoring a quickfire 73 from a mere 38 balls, hitting three fours and five sixes in the process. He complemented the opening duo's effort, hitting some of the biggest sixes in the tournament, one of them flying out of the stadium. Along with Hussey, he added 73 in less than seven overs.
Laxmipathy Balaji's absence was felt as Brett Lee (0/42 in 4 overs) turned out to be very expensive as the trio of Hussey, Vijay and Raina took him to the cleaners.
Even Sunil Narine failed to live up to his good form, giving away 37 runs in his four overs, for his worst figures in the tournament.