Jacques Kallis brought his years of experience into play as he guided Kolkata Knight Riders to its maiden Oppo Champions League T20 final having
comfortably beaten Australia's Hobart Hurricanes by seven wickets in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Chasing a target of 141, Kallis anchored the chase to perfection with an invaluable unbeaten 54 as the reigning IPL champions knocked off the runs in 19.1 overs to win their record 14th match on trot.
Kallis added 63 runs for the third wicket with Manish Pandey, whose 32-ball-40 also proved to be priceless in the final context of the match. Kallis on his part hit four boundaries and two sixes in his 40-ball innings.
The legendary all-rounder, who will be turning 39, finished the match with a mistimed pull-shot off Doug Bollinger, which went for a six as Ben Hilfenhaus, failed to take a simple catch at deep backward square leg. At the time of victory, Kallis had Yusuf Pathan (14 no) for company and the Baroda dasher showed maturity by not attempting any rash stroke during their 34 run unbroken stand.
Earlier, opting to bat, Hobart Hurricanes couldn't make best use of the conditions as they managed only 140 for six in the stipulated 20 overs.
Most of the Hobart batsmen found it difficult against a disciplined KKR attack barring city's son-in-law Shoaib Malik, who smashed an unbeaten 66 off 46 balls with four boundaries and an equal number of sixes. Opener Ben Dunk made the other significant contribution with 39 off 29 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Courtesy Malik, Hurricanes could post a reasonable total as he launched into young chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who was taken for 21 runs in the penultimate over. He hit Kuldeep for two huge sixes and a couple of boundaries.
It was last over of Kuldeep's spell and he had brilliant figures of 30-10-1 to show for his efforts prior to that particular over. Kuldeep's final figures read 40-31-1.
It was the 13th over of the KKR innings turned out to be unlucky for the Hurricanes as Pandey going for an expansive drive was caught by glovesman Ben Dunk off Hilfenhaus. However the TV replays showed that the bowler has overstepped and Pandey, then on 22, got a lifeline.
Pandey spanked the free-hit for a one-bounce four in the long-off region followed by a classic cover drive as KKR suddenly took control of the proceedings. In the next over bowled by Bollinger, the Bangalore lad flicked the bowler for a six as the Hurricanes suddenly went off the boil.
Kallis, on the otherhand, played his customary game by rotating the strike but hit a few classy boundaries including one off his hips off Hilfenhaus. He also showed his class as he came down the track to lift left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty for the first of his two sixes.
It was vintage Kallis at his best after KKR lost their skipper Gautam Gambhir (4) and Robin Uthappa (17) for 44 runs on the board.