Mumbai: After 44 days of mind-boggling action and a no-holds-barred feud among eight fierce franchisees, Rajasthan Royals pipped Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in the thrilling grand finale to lift the inaugural Indian Premier League.
Chasing Super Kings' modest total of 163 for five, the Royals rode on a brilliant all-round display by Yusuf Pathan, who took three wickets and top-scored with a 39-ball 56 to overhaul the score off the last ball after needing eight from the last over.
Sohail Tanvir (9 not out) hit the winning run, a pull off the expensive L Balaji, in the company of his inspiring captain Shane Warne, who was not out on 9 in a final score of 164 for seven.
The winners received the top prize of USD 1.2 million and a glittering gem-laden trophy while the runners-up won USD 600,000.
It was a superb final, although a low-scoring one on a slow track, that made up for the disappointment of one-sided semifinals held at the Wankhede Stadium.
The 25-year-old Pathan did the star turn for the winners by sending back the top three Super Kings' batsmen with his off breaks while conceding 22 runs.
The Baroda right-hander then stepped in when his team was struggling at 42 for three to play a punishing knock of 56, using his bat like a sledgehammer while hitting four sixes and three fours to put Rajasthan Royals on the path to a thrilling victory in front of 55,000 spectators.
Pathan, who was particularly harsh on Balaji and world's highest Test wicket-taking Muttiah Muralitharan, and Shane Watson (28 in 19 balls) added 65 runs for the fourth wicket to steady the innings and give it the impetus to finish in glory.
Faced with a modest target, the Royals made a mess of the initial part of the run-chase by losing three top order batsmen within the first seven overs before Pathan, who carted Murali for three sixes over long on, and Watson rescued them.
The Royals lost Watson when 56 runs were needed in 35 balls and then lost three more wickets, including that of Pathan in six balls, to find themselves under pressure.
Suddenly, things hotted up and the Super Kings sensed a chance to win with Rajasthan needing 21 runs in the last 14 balls with Warne and Tanvir at the crease.
Makhaya Ntini bowled the penultimate over tightly before the Royals captain swung him for a four off the last ball to heighten the tension.
Needing eight off the last over, Royals levelled the score when Tanvir hit Balaji for a couple and then struck the winning hit, a pull, to bring down the curtains on the 59-match tournament that has gripped the nation's interest.