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Rajasthan Royals are IPL champions
2 Jun 2008, 0007 hrs IST,PTI
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MUMBAI: After 44 days of mind-boggling action and a no-holds-barred feud among eight fierce franchisees, Rajasthan Royals pipped Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in the thrilling grand finale to lift the inaugural Indian Premier League on Sunday. ( Watch )


Chasing Super Kings' modest total of 163 for five, the Royals rode on a brilliant all-round display by Yusuf Pathan, who took three wickets and top-scored with a 39-ball 56 to overhaul the score off the last ball after needing eight from the last over.

Sohail Tanvir (9 not out) hit the winning run, a pull off the expensive L Balaji, in the company of his inspiring captain Shane Warne, who was not out on 9 in a final score of 164 for seven. The winners received the top prize of $1.2 million and a glittering gem-laden trophy while the runners-up won $600,000.

It was a superb final, although a low-scoring one on a slow track, that made up for the disappointment of one-sided semi-finals held at the Wankhede Stadium.

The 25-year-old Pathan did the star turn for the winners by sending back the top three Super Kings' batsmen with his off-breaks while conceding 22 runs.

The Baroda right-hander then stepped in when his team was struggling at 42 for three to play a punishing knock of 56, using his bat like a sledgehammer while hitting four sixes and three fours to put Rajasthan Royals on the path to a thrilling victory in front of 55,000 spectators.

Earlier, Rajasthan Royals used their bowling resources intelligently to restrict Chennai Super Kings to a modest 163 for five wickets in the final of the Indian Premier League.

The Super Kings owed their score mainly to an enterprising 43 by in-form one-down batsman Suresh Raina, who faced only 30 balls while hitting two pulled sixes and a four.

The UP left-hander, back in the Indian One-day team, built on a decent start of 39 in 5.2 overs provided by Parthiv Patel (38 in 33 balls) and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan (16 in 14 balls).

But his dismissal in the 17th over when he threatened to cut loose derailed Chennai's plans for a more healthy total.

The most impressive bowler for the Royals was off-spinner Yusuf Pathan, who grabbed three for 22 in two spells while Shane Watson accounted for the wicket of Raina.

The Super Kings, who had lost their two home and away ties earlier in the tournament to the same opposition, began their innings on a cautious note on a slow-paced track of low bounce on which the ball did not come on freely to the bat.

Parthiv and Sivaramakrishnan played it safe against Sohail Tanvir, who had grabbed six for 14 against them on May 4 at Jaipur.

Albie Morkel (16) also pulled Warne disdainfully for a six into the stands in the 12th over after the first 10 had yielded 75 runs. The South African all-rounder also swung Pathan over mid-wicket for his second six before he got out in the same over, 13th of the innings.

In trying to repeat the shot he ballooned a catch to stumper Akmal who took a tumble over Mohd Kaif, who also went for the ball, while managing to hold on to the sphere to provide Pathan his third wicket.

The 100 came up in 80 balls after which Raina swung Sidharth Trivedi, bowling his second spell, for a six. Later skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29 not out in 17 balls) lofted Warne, bowling his last over, over the straight field for another six to take Chennai Super Kings to 117 for three with five overs remaining.

Raina fell in trying to clear the long off area and was caught just inside the rope by Jadeja after which Dhoni and Chamara Kapugedara added 20 runs before the latter holed out to the deep off Tanvir in the last over.

Dhoni, who hit a straight second six in Tanvir's last over, and S Badrinath (6) remained unbeaten at the end of the innings.

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