Suresh Raina's hundred in the CLT20 final against KKR is probably the most important knock of the tournament © PTI
Suresh Raina’s hundred in the CLT20 final against KKR was probably the most important knock of the tournament © PTI

The Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 has finally come to an end after some exhilarating  contests which saw huge totals, close finishes and tight spells. Shiamak Unwalla lists out the five best batting performances of the tournament.

1. Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings): 109* (62), 6×4, 8×6 vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Final at Bangalore:

Gautam Gambhir scored a terrific 80 to set up the game for KKR. In partnership with Robin Uthappa, he put on 91 runs for the opening wicket. However, Pawan Negi’s exceptional fifer restricted what could have been a 200-plus total to just 180.

Smith was out early in the chase, but Raina — who had already scored a rollicking 90 against Dolphins as mentioned above — was in no mood to let the KKR bowlers go unpunished. He was in sensational form, striking six boundaries and as many as eight sixes on the way to a flawless century. His 109 not out was the third century of CLT20 2014, but was perhaps also its most valuable. Raina guided CSK to an eight-wicket win, and helped them halt KKR’s 14-match winning streak in the progress.

2. Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders): 58 (25), 4×4, 5×6 vs Chennai Super Kings, Match 1 at Hyderabad

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batted first in the first match of the tournament proper. Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, and Dwayne Bravo all scored important runs but no one was able to kick on after getting a start. CSK managed to score 157 for four in their 20 overs.

Ashish Nehra then turned up with a spell that shook the foundations of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batting. With Robin Uthappa missing the match with an injury, KKR were reduced to 51 for five before Andre Russell’s belligerent innings rescued them from the brink of defeat, helping KKR to a three-wicket win.

3. Kane Williamson (Northern Knights): 101* (49) 8×4, 5×6 vs Cape Cobras, Match 3 at Raipur

Batting first, Knights were able to absolutely lambast Cape Cobras’ bowling thanks to Anton Devcich and Kane Williamson. The openers put on 140 in less than 14 overs before Devchich was dismissed. Williamson, however, was sublime; his drives were crisp and confident, his pulls were full of conviction, and the few times he chose to slog he managed to do so while looking supremely graceful.

Williamson’s knock and some disciplined bowling from the new-ball pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, combined with bad weather to ensure that Cobras had no chance, as the Knights won by a comfortable 33 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

4. Jonathan Carter (Barbados Tridents): 111* (68) 10×4, 5×6 vs Cape Cobras, Match 12 at Mohali:

Cobras had the unwanted distinction of being the side that conceded two centuries in CLT20 2014. The second of those was scored by Barbados Tridents’ wicketkeeper Jonathan Carter. Carter and Dilshan Munaweera got together at a precarious seven for two before adding 75 runs for the third wicket. A flurry of wickets around Carter meant that the Tridents were unable to kick on to a big score, but Carter’s terrific knock helped his side to 174 for eight.

The fact that the Cobras not only tied, but later won in the super over is down to the explosive start provided by Richard Levi and Hashim Amla, both of whom were so severe at the start, that losing regular wickets still didn’t hamper the Cobras too much. Even in the super over, Carter did his best but it was not enough to save Tridents.

5. Robbie Frylinck (Dolphins): 63* (27), 4×4, 6×6 vs Lahore Lions, Match 14 at Bangalore:

Saad Nasim (43) and Umar Akmal (73) powered Lions to 164 for five after being four down for 34 at one stage. Frylinck, celebrating his birthday, took three for 22 in his four overs. Akmal’s late counterattack gave Lions something to bowl at, and his teammates responded brilliantly in the field.

Mohammad Hafeez got rid of Cameron Delport in the first over of the innings, and frequent wickets kept tumbling after that. Frylinck walked out to bat at 77 for six. The score was soon 93 for nine, with all hopes of victory long gone from the mind of the Dolphins.

However, Frylinck was not ready to give in. Frylinck went absolutely ballistic against Aizaz Cheema in the 18th over of the innings. The over read 6,2,6,6,0,6 as Frylinck took the Dolphins within striking distance.

Sadly, his effort went in vain as Lions managed to hold out to a 16-run win. However, his innings defined the outcome of the tournament: Lions’ net run rate took a toll; CSK qualified; and won the tournament.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)