Suresh Raina bossed a Kolkata Knight Riders attack without the banned Sunil Narine for his third T20 century to lead Chennai Super Kings to their second Champions League T20 title. Raina’s relentless hitting, especially against spin, made light of a target of 181, which was built on the back of Gautam Gambhir’s 80. Knight Riders looked good for around 200 after a 91-run opening partnership but left-arm spinner Pawan Negi’s 5 for 22 held them back. Given the way Raina blasted six after six, even 200 might not have been enough. The defeat also halted IPL champions Knight Riders’ winning streak at 14, an Indian record and second only to Sialkot Stallions.
Super Kings lost Dwayne Smith in the first over of the chase and it was all Raina after that. Almost everything Raina attempted came off on the night. The drives raced in the gaps through the off side. The pulls disappeared behind square. The strike was turned over as if on autopilot.
But it was the sixes that stood out. Raina stepped out and lofted Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav for six straight sixes. Nearly every time he left the crease, Raina deposited the ball over the boundary.
He survived a stumping chance off Kuldeep on 78 and the bowler Yusuf Pathan put down a difficult, diving chance when Raina was on 88. But both those chances came after Raina had snatched the game from Knight Riders’ grasp.
Knight Riders’ spinners, led by the absent Narine, had been instrumental in their march to the final but Raina never allowed them to settle down. Kuldeep, Chawla, Suryakumar Yadav and Yusuf went for a collective 1 for 137 in 13.3 overs.
Raina’s hundred came off 59 balls, and he put on 118 with Brendon McCullum in 12.2 overs. The New Zealand captain was not in great touch, but swept his way to a vital 39 off 30.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
RV Uthappa st †Dhoni b Negi 39
G Gambhir c McCullum b Jadeja 80
JH Kallisc Nehra b Negi 1
MK Pandey c McCullum b Negi 32
YK Pathan not out 20
RN ten Doeschate st †Dhoni b Negi 0
SA Yadav c Nehra b Negi 0
AD Russell not out 2
EXTRAS (lb 2, w 3, nb 1) 6
TOTAL (6 wickets; 20 overs) 180
DID NOT BAT PJ Cummins, PP Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav
FALL OF WICKETS 1-91 (Uthappa, 10.5 ov), 2-97 (Kallis, 12.1 ov), 3-136 (Gambhir, 16.2 ov), 4-159 (Pandey, 18.1 ov), 5-161 (ten Doeschate, 18.3 ov), 6-161 (Yadav, 18.5 ov)
A Nehra 4-0-54-0, MM Sharma 3-0-27-0, R Ashwin 3-0-26-0, P Negi 4-0-22-5, RA Jadeja 4-0-25-1, DJ Bravo 2-0-24-0
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
DR Smith b Cummins 8
BB McCullum c ten Doeschate b Pathan 39
SK Raina not out 109
MS Dhoni not out 23
EXTRAS (lb 2, w 4) 6
TOTAL (2 wickets; 18.3 overs) 185
DID NOT BAT F du Plessis, DJ Bravo, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, P Negi, MM Sharma, A Nehra
FALL OF WICKETS 1-9 (Smith, 0.5 ov), 2-127 (McCullum, 13.1 ov)
PJ Cummins 3-0-32-1, AD Russell 2-0-14-0, Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-44-0, PP Chawla 3-0-38-0, SA Yadav 3-0-21-0, YK Pathan 3.3-0-34-1
Toss – Chennai Super Kings, who chose to field
Series – Chennai Super Kings won the 2014/15 Champions League Twenty20
Player of the match – P Negi (Chennai Super Kings)
Player of the series – SK Raina (Chennai Super Kings)
Umpires – HDPK Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and RJ Tucker (Australia)
TV umpire – S Ravi
Match referee – AJ Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Reserve umpire – CK Nandan