IPL 2019, MI v CSK: 'Final' man Shane Watson falls short this time

Late form, three reprieves and four massive sixes, Shane Watson is Chennai Super Kings' final special package.

CSK batsman Shane Watson fails to make ground as Quinton de Kock appeals to the third umpire in the IPL 2019 final in Hyderabad on Sunday.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Chennai Super Kings opener Shane Watson struck form a tad late in IPL 2019. But he is a tried and tested player, specially in the finals. The 50 against Delhi Capitals in Qualifier II prepared him for the big Sunday against Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad.

But the Australian — the centurion and hero of IPL 2018 for CSK — fell short by a whisker.

Watson had three reprieves in his 59-ball 80.

The seasoned campaigner was dropped on 31 by Lasith Malinga at short fine leg. When batting on 40, leggie Rahul Chahar dropped him off his own bowling.

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Chahar had the room for amends. In the 17th over, Jasprit Bumrah had lined up Watson with a bouncer; he got a top-edge and Chahar ran in from deep backward square leg to take the catch, but he popped it out.

Watson had a set plan into his innings. He took his time to gauge the length of the pacers, the turn and the wrong uns' of the spinners. He turned lethal from the 16th over.

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From a run-a-ball 42, Watson quickly moved to 55 off 46. He smashed three fours off Malinga's third over. After the reprieve in the Bumrah over, Watson smashed three sixes off Krunal Pandya.

When CSK needed five off three balls, Watson hesitated while converting a single into two. The mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja cost him the wicket, and perhaps, the match.