BANGALORE: If Robin Uthappa made the Orange Cap his own by hammering 660 runs in 16 innings with an unbeaten 83 as his best at 44.00, Manish Pandey slammed 401 in the same number of matches at 30.84.
But Manish, the first Indian to score a century in IPL, was the toast of the team and fans for his breathtaking 94 in the final. For both the Karnataka players, as also medium pacer and state captain R Vinay Kumar, this was an incredible fourth trophy of the season, after the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“This is absolutely stunning. The whole feeling is just so surreal. For me, personally, this is the fourth cup in a year and so, wow, it doesn’t get better than this, does it? This has been such an amazing ride,” said Uthappa who will make his national comeback in Bangladesh later this month.
Uthappa, who led Kolkata’s charge after initial hiccups, said the mood in the camp helped them regroup and post nine wins on the trot. “There was always the belief that we could get our campaign back on track if we just take it one game at a time, and that is exactly what we did. Even in the final, we knew that on this ground we could chase down any score. We only had to keep up with the run rate and keep ourselves in the game. Everybody chipped in,” he said.
“Gauti and I have always batted well opening the batting together. We’ve done that for India and have also played a lot of domestic cricket together and for India A. The understanding and the camaraderie between us is really good,” Uthappa added.
“Obviously I’ve got four achievements this year and the cherry on the cake is this one. This tournament is real fun. I am happy with my effort. I thought if we play aggressively, we will easily get 200 in 20 overs,” said a delighted Pandey. Vinay Kumar was not in the playing eleven in the final.