Mumbai: Attacking all-rounder Yusuf Pathan scripted a memorable last-ball victory for Jaipur against Chennai in a thrilling final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that more than made up for the two lop-sided semi-finals.
Pathan grabbed three crucial wickets and then produced a belligerent half-century as Jaipur chased a challenging target of 164 to lift the trophy in the first edition of the championship, which brought several of the world’s top players together in a double-league format played among eight city teams.
The Jaipur team, by far the most consistent in the championship with 11 wins in 14 league matches, were deserving winners under Aussie great Shane Warne. Having thrashed Delhi on way to the final, they were on a roll with all-rounders Pathan and Shane Watson proving their match-winning capability time and again.
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The two were once again in the thick of things and looked set to take the match away from Chennai with a useful partnership before some quick wickets set them back.
Pathan struck his fourth fifty of the tournament, his racy 56 off 39 balls studded with three fours and four sixes. Jaipur eventually won by three wickets, Warne seeing the team through in the company of Sohail Tanvir after they needed 18 off the last two overs and then eight off the last over bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji. A wide ball followed by a fumble from wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel helped Jaipur breath easy in the final over and Tanvir drove through the leg side to get the one run needed off the last ball.
Jaipur did not have a good start chasing a challenging target as they fell to 42-3. But Pathan’s 65-run stand for the fourth wicket with in-form batsman Watson, who struck 28 off 19 balls with three fours, put them back on track.
Pathan continued to torment the bowling even after Watson’s departure, once carting Muttiah Muralitharan for two consecutive sixes. Pathan was lucky to be let off twice, Suresh Raina dropping a skier off Muttiah Muralitharan when he was on 13, and then MS Gony failing to latch on to a return catch on 33. Pathan was also lucky to escape in a mix-up with Warne a little later.
A flurry of wickets just when Jaipur seemed to have the match in their grasp, made the proceedings interesting. Pathan was run out to a direct throw from Raina as Jaipur fell to 143-7 after cruising along at 107-3.
Pathan was not only lucky to get some chances while batting but also while bowling, because he was backed really well by some superb fielding earlier in the day. After a colourful opening ceremony delayed the match by 15 minutes, Pathan took centre-stage to return a fine bowling analysis of 3-22 that pegged the opposition back and prevented a free flow of runs despite a steady start provided by Parthiv Patel (38).
Pathan got his first wicket as Sidharth Trivedi took a lovely diving catch in the deep after Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan (16) pulled in an effort to clear the mid-wicket boundary. Pathan got success again when wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal pouched a fine catch on second attempt with Patel trying to cut the ball. Akmal also caught Albie Morkel (16) in a melee to give Pathan his third scalp.
Suresh Raina and Mahendra Dhoni came up with brisk knocks later in the innings to keep the team’s hopes alive. Left-handed Raina scored a quick 43 off 30 balls and Dhoni 29 off 17 balls, both batsmen hitting two sixes and a four each.
Jaipur, who suffered a major blow before the match with the injury of Graeme Smith, brought in Akmal. The extremely impressive Niraj Patel also earned a comeback for the crucial clash.
Chennai, who decimated Mohali in their semi-final game on Saturday, made no changes to their playing eleven.
Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Parthiv Patel, S Vidyut, Suresh Raina, Albie Morkel, S Badrinath, Chamara Kapugedera, Laxmipathy Balaji, Manpreet Gony, Muthiah Muralitharan, Makhaya Ntini.
Jaipur: Shane Warne (captain), Kamran Akmal, Swapnil Asnodkar, Mohammad Kaif, Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Niraj Patel, Sohail Tanvir, Munaf Patel, Siddharth Trivedi.