Kolkata Knight Riders crowned IPL champions

India

The Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in Sunday's final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore – to be crowned champions of the 2014 Indian Premier League.

The Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in Sunday's final – to be crowned champions of the 2014 Indian Premier League.

A competition uncharacteristically free of controversy and high in entertainment concluded in front of a near sell-out M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, as all-rounder Piyush Chawla struck the four runs required to seal a second title in three years.

Kings XI Punjab fans would have all but banked on success after wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha's outstanding century and a complementary half-ton from opener Manan Vohra capped a formidable total of 199 for four.

The hard-hitting Manish Pandey and all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, however, were quick and cut-throat in pursuit, leaving Chawla's closing cameo to conclude success with three deliveries to spare.

Pandey scored 94 to Saha's 115, striking three less fours and two fewer sixes than the centurion. His innings, though statically inferior, proved substantially superior – and secured the Man of the Match award.

The 23-year-old Pandey was particularly severe on leg-spinner Karanveer Singh, who cherished four wickets – but conceded an expensive 54 runs in four overs. Seamer Parvinder Awana, too, traveled for more than a dozen runs per over.

Australian Glenn Maxwell was consoled by the Player of the Tournament in the wake of 552 runs in 16 innings at the remarkable strike-rate of 187.75 – and 34.50 average – but will lament Sunday's first-ball duck.

The Kings XI Punjab certainly were not aided by the selection of the rusty Lakshmipathy Balaji instead of the in-form Sandeep Sharma, while the decision to promote captain George Bailey to three in the order – after opener Virender Sehwag perished cheaply – backfired.

The Knight Riders benefited entirely from spinner Sunil Narine's decision to snub a berth in the West Indies' Test squad to instead complete the IPL – and captain Gautam Gambhir's decision to afford South African fast bowler Morne Morkel three consecutive overs at the start of the innings.

The teams deployed only five bowlers each. The introduction of seamer Ryan ten Doeschate or spinner Pathan beckoned for Kolkata, while the Punjab outfit contemplated the use of slow bowler Maxwell, but the competitive nature of the finale didn't allow for deviation from steadfast gameplans.

The Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, alongside fellow play-off graduates Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, have qualified for the Champions League Twenty20 later this year.

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