Shane Watson conquers SRH, steers CSK to IPL glory

The yellow army redefined swagger in franchise cricket by clinching its third IPL title, beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets, here at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

King of the day: Shane Watson obliterated the SRH bowling attack with his fusillade of muscular hits.   -  Vivek Bendre

The moment you feel they can’t, they do. If you predict the next ball to be a dot, it is likely to be a six. That’s how Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has been playing its cricket since the start of the Indian Premier League. The yellow army redefined swagger in franchise cricket by clinching its third IPL title, beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets, here at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It is hard to compare CSK’s return to the IPL fold (after serving a two-year ban) with athletes across the globe. But all the 11 cricketers on the field had a bit of Monica Seles, a slice of George Foreman and the South African cricket team post apartheid. Though it’s the IPL, limited to India, the cult of CSK down south is legend.

Shane Watson, who appeared in the first-ever final for Rajasthan Royals against CSK in 2008, completed a full circle. The former Australia all-rounder’s unbeaten 117 off 57 balls helped CSK chase down 179 with nine balls to spare. Suresh Raina (32 off 24; 3x4, 1x6) played a good supporting act.

Costly overs

Having won the toss and elected to field, the M. S. Dhoni-led side stuck to its natural game — attack and only attack — after losing Faf du Plessis (10 off 11; 1X4) early in the innings. While Watson started a deluge of sixes, Raina held the innings from the other end with crucial ones and twos.

 

To sum it up, SRH lost the game in four overs. Siddharth Kaul conceded 32 off two, Shakib Al Hasan 15 off his sole over and Sandeep Sharma literally gifted the trophy to CSK leaking 27 runs in the 13th over — overall, 74 runs off 24 balls. Despite being sent on a leather hunt, Kaul kept bowling the slot balls to Watson. The Aussie, wary of the knuckeball, stuck to cross-batted shots for the boundaries.

Before SRH could apply its plan B, CSK had registered 100 runs in 11.5 overs in 60 minutes. Against Sandeep, Watson launched a hat-trick of sixes — the first off a slower delivery, the second off a full toss and the third, over long-on. Carlos Brathwaite removed Raina, caught by Goswami behind the stumps, in the 14th over but by then, Watson had unlocked his beast code.

Effective Ngidi

Sent in to bat, SRH made an unhurried start. After losing opener Shreevats Goswami (5) to an unnecessary run out in the second over, it limped to 42 in the Power Play overs. Karn Sharma, who replaced Harbhajan Singh, ran in from long leg to throw the ball at Dhoni to cause the first casualty.

Calm accumulator: Kane Williamson's 47 gave teeth to SRH's innings after a quiet start. It was all too inadequate, though. Photo: Vivek Bendre

 

Skipper Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan stitched a 51-run partnership for the second wicket. While they tried to accelerate, there were obstacles like Lungi Ngidi, who was releasing right-arm bullets from a height of six-foot-four-inches. The Proteas speedster, playing in his first season, became the fourth bowler to have bowled a maiden over in an IPL final; Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the fifth in the second innings. They joined the elite list of Makhaya Ntini in 2008, Ryan Harris in 2009 and Ravichandran Ashwin in 2010.

Surprisingly, it was Orange Cap holder Williamson who struggled against Ngidi. The first ball was closer to off, the second one hit the outer half of the bat, which made the Kiwi cautious enough to block the third one. In the fourth ball, he found a bit of bottom hand but it went to the fielder. He attempted a cut in the fifth ball, but missed it. The sixth ball went to the fielder, too.

Stumble

Ravindra Jadeja cleaned up Dhawan (26 off 25; 2x4, 1x6) in the ninth over. Shakib walked in and continued the left-right combination. Jadeja conceded 17 runs in the 11th over, the most expensive one in the first innings. The Bangladesh all-rounder smashed him for a six and a four in consecutive deliveries.

Read: W, W, W, W - CSK completes clean sweep over SRH

In the next over, Karn Sharma, reading Williamson’s foot, threw down a ball that evaded the Kiwi’s reach outside off, and had him stumped. Williamson had set the platform with a 36-ball 47 (5x4, 2x6). Shakib (23 off 15; 2x4, 1x6) didn’t last long either.

Read: Watson second batsman to score a century in IPL final

He looked for a boundary over extra cover but couldn’t keep it low. The full toss, off Bravo, went straight to Suresh Raina.

Yusuf Pathan kept the scoreboard ticking with his occasional aerial forays. The big man, playing in his fourth IPL final, remained unbeaten on 45 off 25 balls — an innings laced with four fours and two sixes — to help SRH to 178 for 6. Carlos Brathwaite, known for his big-hitting abilities, contributed with an 11-ball 21 comprising three sixes, but it proved to be too little.

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