Chennai crowned IPL champs
Murali Vijay (Gallo Images)
Chennai - A clinical Chennai Super Kings clinched their second Indian Premier League title in a row with a 58-run thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore in a lop-sided final on Saturday.
Opener Murali Vijay cracked 95 runs off just 52 balls to help the defending champions pile up 205-5 before Ravichandran Ashwin removed Bangalore's openers early, ensuring a fine win for the hosts at a packed Chidambaram Stadium.
League-toppers Bangalore, who were seeking their maiden IPL title, folded up at 147-8 off 20 overs.
The home team owed their win to Vijay whose record 159-run stand for the first wicket with Australian Michael Hussey (63) set the platform for a winning total after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat first.
Their stand surpassed the 155-run partnership between Adam Gilchrist and Venkatsai Laxman against Mumbai in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008.
Bangalore's chase was derailed early with off-spinner Ashwin (3-16) getting rid of the dangerous Chris Gayle for a duck in the very first over.
Gayle, who still finished as the highest run-getter with 608 runs from 12 innings, offered an outside edge which was snapped up by Dhoni behind the wickets.
Gayle's dismissal triggered a collapse with Bangalore losing their next six wickets inside 11 overs to be reduced to 70-6, a situation from which they could never really recover.
Saurabh Tiwary offered some resistance with an unbeaten 42 but the other Bangalore batsmen simply caved in under pressure.
Vijay, pointed out as the weak link in the Chennai line-up after an indifferent run with the bat in the tournament, decided to make amends at the big stage, unleashing six sixes and four fours in his blazing knock.
Hussey also impressed, hitting three sixes and as many boundaries in his 45-ball innings before holing out to Abhimanyu Mithun near the boundary ropes off left-arm spinner Syed Mohammad.
Vijay, who seemed to struggle in hot and humid conditions during the later part of his innings, missed out on a well-deserved century when he offered a simple catch to captain Daniel Vettori off paceman Sreenath Aravind.
Aravind struck again off the very next ball to remove Dhoni, caught off a full toss by Virat Kohli after making 22 which included two sixes in one over by Gayle.
Gayle also picked up two wickets in two balls, sending back Albie Morkel and Suresh Raina in the 20th over with his wily off-breaks.