| GEO Sports|
| Rajasthan Royals crowned IPL champions|
| Updated at: 0045 PST, Monday, June 02, 2008|
MUMBAI: India’s newest cricket star Yousuf Pathan sparkled with both the bat and ball to guide Rajasthan Royals to a tense, final-ball triumph over Chennai Super Kings in the IPL final here on Sunday night.
A galaxy of international stars might have added fizz to the IPL but it was India’s most improved domestic player who mattered most in the tense final.
Few outside India might have heard of Yousuf before this tournament but he imposed himself on the grand stage, snaffling three wickets before smashing a scintillating 56, setting the stage for Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir to pull off the last-ball thriller.
It was fitting that the most consistent side in the tournament held their nerve to clinch an enthralling victory in the grand finale played in front of a packed DY Patil Stadium.
Chennai, led by India’s ODI skipper MS Dhoni, summoned every ounce of their reserves to take the match to the last ball but a calm swat from Sohail, when one was needed off the last ball, sparked some heady celebrations in the Rajasthan dug-out.
The least expensive side in the league had completed the coup that had them winning 13 of their 16 matches.
Unlike in the two semi-finals, neither team held a clear advantage at the end of the first innings.
The Chennai Super Kings paced their innings well, not trying anything too rash, and a collective effort took them to a fighting 163. Rajasthan Royals weren’t as dominant with the ball as they’ve usually been but Yousuf Pathan’s three strikes ensured that the game never really got away.