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Rajasthan Royals crowned IPL champion

The winning feeling: The Rajasthan Royals cricketers celebrate the thrilling three-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings to win the inaugural DLF-IPL title in Mumbai on Sunday.

The winning feeling: The Rajasthan Royals cricketers celebrate the thrilling three-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings to win the inaugural DLF-IPL title in Mumbai on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: K. PICHUMANI

Special Correspondent

Yusuf Pathan emerges the star of a thrilling final; the title-match produces a last-ball finish

Chennai: Rajasthan Royals, chasing 164, scored a last-ball three-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings to win the DLF-IPL title at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.

The Royals required eight runs off the last over with skipper Shane Warne and Sohail Tanvir at the crease. The side needed one run off the final ball delivered by paceman L. Balaji. Tanvir sealed the win for the Royals amid excruciating tension.

Yusuf Pathan, with his big-hitting (56 off 39 balls) and fastish variety of off-spin (three for 22), emerged the hero for the winning side.

He was sensationally run out by Suresh Raina, who scored a direct hit after running to his left from point. However, Raina had put down Pathan at mid-wicket off Muttiah Muralitharan when the batsman was on 13. It proved a crucial miss.

The match was in the balance when Warne cover-drove Makhaya Ntini to the fence off the final ball of the penultimate over. Ntini, who had bowled impressively, was a picture of anguish. There were celebrations in the Royals camp. Then, Warne and Tanvir ensured that their team finished at the right end of a thriller.

Pathan was adjudged Man of the Match and all-rounder Shane Watson the Player of the Series. The Jaipur team was coasting towards a win when Muralitharan deceived Shane Watson (28 off 19) in the air. Earlier, the little Swapnil Asnodkar of compelling hand-eye coordination and bat-speed, lofted the ball over the infield on either side of the wicket. His 28 gave the innings momentum.

Then, the Royals lost ground. With the Royals slumping to 42 for three in the seventh over, the Super Kings were full of beans. The Royals recovered through Shane Watson and Pathan.

When Super Kings batted, opener Parthiv Patel (38) and a free-stroking Suresh Raina (43) produced useful efforts.

Watson and Tanvir bowled well at the death, but Dhoni (29 not out off 17 balls), produced a few timely blows.

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