Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had said on Saturday that the Indian Premier League final presented each of the 22 players the chance to stand up and be a hero.
Little did he know that his prophecy would work against his own team, as wicketkeeper-batsman Manvinder Bisla grabbed the Chennai bowlers by the scruff of the neck and took Kolkata Knight Riders to their maiden IPL title in Chennai on Sunday.
In a mammoth chase of 191 on a more or less placid MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch, Bisla put the early loss of captain Gautam Gambhir behind him to produce a gem of an innings, hitting 89 off 48 balls and putting on 136 with Jacques Kallis for the second wicket to bring home the trophy for the Knight Riders.
Chennai stayed in the hunt with some tight bowling from Ben Hilfenhaus and Ravichandran Ashwin, but with the equation down to seven off the last four balls, bowled by Dwayne Bravo, Manoj Tiwary swung away successive deliveries through square leg for boundaries to spark off wild celebrations among Kolkata players and fans alike.
All the players and support staff charged in to lift Tiwary on to their shoulders, while coowner Shah Rukh Khan hoisted his daughter Suhana aloft in the stands and later performed cartwheels and did few dance moves.
None of this would've been possible without Bisla's bravado. Brought in to replace Brendon McCullum since Kolkata needed to play Brett Lee in place of the injured Lakshmipathy Balaji, Bisla's knock was an exhibition of clean, riskfree hitting as he used conventional strokes for eight boundaries and five sixes.
After Gambhir was bowled by Hilfenhaus in the very first over, Bisla brought Kolkata charging back into the game. He was severe on Albie Morkel, taking runs off the fourth over, before cracking two big ones off Ashwin in the sixth.
Kallis (69) played a smart hand by rotating the strike at every opportunity, giving the marauding Bisla enough chances to keep Kolkata in the hunt. The 50 was reached the sixth over and the 100 in the 10th.
With Kolkata requiring off 33 balls, Bisla perished to slower one from Morkel, but Kallis kept the runs coming with a couple of boundaries off Shadab Jakati, leaving 39 to get from the last four overs.
Even the quick fall of Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Yusuf Pathan didn't bother Kallis who, despite struggling because of the humidity, ran hard for every single and two and got the odd boundary.
Kallis fell in the penultimate over to Hilfenhaus, but off the last ball of the over, the Aussie was called for a no-ball for a full toss over waist height. The extra ball was chipped over short fine-leg by Shakib to leave nine to win off the final over, setting the stage for Tiwary.
Earlier, when birthday boy Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay walked out to the middle after Dhoni elected to bat, it would've been a moment of deja vu. Last year too, the pair had walked out to the middle just before 8pm on a Sunday evening and set about their job with ease on a placid batting wicket, putting on 159 and effectively batting Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the match.
On Sunday, the opening stand wasn't quite that big, neither was Chennai's total, but Hussey and Vijay's 87- run partnership set the foundation from which Suresh Raina launched a brilliant attack to power them to 190 for three.
Gambhir stuck to his guns, playing three spinners, but baffled one and all by giving just three overs to Shakib and one to Iqbal Abdulla, with Lee conceding 42 off his four overs.
The openers used the pace of Lee to launch the innings with two boundaries, before Hussey got stuck into Shakib with a six and a four. In the last over of the powerplay, the batsmen took 19 off Lee, with two sixes and a boundary.
Vijay's departure to a good catch in the deep by Shakib off Rajat Bhatia brought Raina to the crease, and like Dhoni and Vijay in the previous matches, he turned around his form at a crucial juncture.
Raina smacked Yusuf Pathan for 17 runs in the 14th over, before getting his favourite mid-wicket slogs going and handing Sunil Narine his first real beating of the IPL. Narine ended up with figures of none for 37 in his four overs, with Raina taking 14 and 11 off his final two overs.
By the time Raina was dismissed for 73 off the final delivery by Shakib, Chennai had scored 104 off the last 10 overs, but Kolkata - the most consistent team in the tournament - made sure there was no threepeat for the Super Kings.