Chennai Super Kings have triumphed in the Champions League T20 after beating Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in the final.
India’s Suresh Raina was the star man for Chennai, taking just 59 balls to reach his unbeaten century, which included eight sixes and six fours.
Though it was to be Raina who saw them over the edge, spinner Pawan Negi also proved instrumental in their victory, taking impressive figures of 5-22.
However, Kolkata did well to reach a respectable total of 180, in spite of a late slump which saw Ryan ten Doeschate and Yadav dismissed within three balls.
Few will have been surprised by the final’s composition, considering the amount of attention that has been paid to the dominance of Indian Premier League (IPL) sides, when it is supposed to bring together the top clubs from the major cricketing nations.
That has also led to questions about funding, as teams are evidently not competing on an even playing field.
Unsurprisingly, both sides who made the final boasted several big names, with the likes of Brendan McCullum and MS Dhoni turning out for Chennai, while Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir turned out for Kolkata.
Amidst calls for competitions like the Champions League – along with the IPL, and the Australian ‘Big Bash’ – to be scrapped by the likes of Sir Ian Botham, the advantages to players’ fitness should not be overlooked.
The fact that the top English clubs choose not to participate in the T20 does a lot to shape attitudes in this country, but it is the motivation behind such tournaments that has raised eyebrows.
The suggestion has even been made that a portion of players would rather play in the lucrative IPL than turn out for their countries.
Kallis, for example, who hit a half century in the semi-final against Holbart Hurricanes, recently retired from international cricket with South Africa, and has revelled in the effects that decision has had on his game in the Champions League.
Regardless of the ups and downs of the tournament itself, Chennai’s victory brings to an end three disappointing years without a trophy.
The triumph will be all the sweeter for it having been against Kolkata, who won the contest when the two sides met in the 2012 IPL final.
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