Shane Watson masterclass seals third Indian Premier League title for Chennai Super Kings
Shane Watson overcame a slow start on his way to an unbeaten 117 to guide Chennai Super Kings to their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title with an eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.cricket Updated: May 27, 2018 23:53 IST
Seven finals in nine attempts, Chennai Super Kings sure know how to handle the big stage. Coming into the 2018 Indian Premier League with a bruised ego due to the ignominy of a two-year suspension, the seasoned warriors proved they retain the same aura of invincibility that made them the most successful team in the first eight editions. (CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 FINAL HIGHLIGHTS)
Completing a fairytale script, the yellow brigade dismissed the challenge of Sunrisers Hyderabad to lift the IPL title for the third time, cantering to an eight-wicket win, eating up the target of 179 in just 18.3 overs.
They effectively won in 16.3 overs as SRH bowled two maiden overs. (CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 FINAL SCORES)
Cheered on by a sea of yellow at the Wankhede Stadium, Shane Watson chose the occasion to put on a show. As if to prove a point on behalf of his veteran teammates against critics who had dismissed CSK as Dad’s Army for picking quite a few in the 30-plus age bracket, the 36-year-old burly opener smashed an unbeaten 117 off 57 balls (11 fours and eight sixes).
LULL BEFORE STORM
The Sunrisers opening bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma, began well, exerting early pressure by snaking the ball around on the lively track. Watson was clueless in that period, taking 11 balls to get off the mark. But that was the only period of positive play for SRH as it proved to be the lull before the storm.
The powerplay overs done with, Watson lifted his game into a different zone to make it a no-contest.
He exposed the lack of pace of SRH bowlers. Siddarth Kaul, hero of the win over Kolkata Knight Riders, bore the brunt, conceding 43 runs in three overs.
It is not every day that Suresh Raina, highest run-getter in IPL history, gets eclipsed. On Sunday, he was left to play second fiddle as Watson traded in sixes. In their 117-run second wicket partnership, Watson’s contribution was 82 off 33 balls, Raina’s 32 off 24 balls.
It was Watson’s second hundred of the season, having hit one against Rajasthan Royals, and fourth IPL ton.
At the end of the powerplay overs, CSK had huffed and puffed to 35/1. In comparison, SRH had been ahead at that mark at 42 for one. But when Raina’s wicket fell at the score of 133, CSK’s target had been reduced to 46 off 39 balls.
Sandeep Sharma, so incisive with the new ball, was clobbered for 27 runs in the 13th over of the innings, Watson scoring 26 of them with three sixes and two fours.
The 150 off the innings was reached in 15.3 overs and it was almost run-a-ball at that point with eight wickets in hand.
SRH had topped the league table ahead of CSK but in their one-to-one battles, it has been complete domination by the men-in-yellow – this being the fourth straight defeat of the season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen battled their way to 178/6 after being put into bat with skipper Kane Williamson scoring a 36-ball 47 and Yusuf Pathan providing the innings the much-needed impetus with a quickfire 25-ball 45 not out.