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Shane Watson’s unbeaten ton guides Chennai Super Kings to third IPL title

Shane Watson’s unbeaten 117 helped Chennai Super Kings defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets to win their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

cricket Updated: May 27, 2018 22:52 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,IPL 2018 final,Shane Watson
Shane Watson in action during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) final between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. (PTI)

Shane Watson on Sunday became only the second batsman in Indian Premier League history to score a century in a final as Chennai Super Kings beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets to win their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title, here at the Wankhede Stadium, on Sunday. (CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 FINAL HIGHLIGHTS)

Opting to chase after winning the toss, Chennai Super Kings were in a spot of bother early on as openers Watson and Faf du Plessis began on a slow note, scoring just 20 runs off the first five overs. The pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma had started well, with the former sending down a maiden in the very first over while the latter dismissed Du Plessis in the fourth. (CSK vs SRH IPL 2018 FINAL SCORES)

However, the tempo quickly shifted once Suresh Raina joined Watson out in the middle. The latter slammed Sharma for a six over mid-wicket before following it up with a boundary past the bowler to let his intentions known. He then picked up a six off Siddharth Kaul in the very next over; an exquisite flick that went flying past the long leg boundary.

The introduction of Rashid Khan, however, brought out the experienced side of both the cricketers as they held themselves back before restarting the carnage. Watson brought up his half-century in fine style as he executed a neat sweep while welcoming Shakib Al-Hasan with a six over the deep square leg fence before launching him over long-on off the over’s last delivery.

Watson was in exemplary form. He timed his shots to perfection while pacing his innings well, which not just helped the likes of Raina and Rayudu to settle at the other end, but also rattled the opposition’s plans to come out on top. Such was his form that even shots which he failed to connect from the middle of his bat, would land a couple of rows back.

However, the best was reserved for Sharma in the 13th over. The bowler started well with a wide yorker, but might have nightmares to the onslaught that was meted out to him. He went for 26 runs off the next five legal deliveries. The first was a boundary, well driven through the cover region before a hat-trick of sixes to the long-on and cow corner turned the fate of the match on its head. He finished it off with a boundary, guiding an overpitched delivery between point and gully in fine style.

Although Raina fell at the other end in the next over off Brathwaite, it did little to curtail Watson who still picked up a boundary and a six to kill off the contest. He reached the triple-figure mark with a single off Rashid Khan, who was the only bowler who earned a bit of respect from the blitz unleashed by Watson.

First Published: May 27, 2018 22:48 IST