BENGALURU: The batting display of Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli has been the biggest talking point in this IPL. The 27-year-old demolished every individual batting statistic this season, bringing up a few in the final on Sunday.
All that remained was for him was to clinch the first IPL title for him and his team to cap an exemplary season. However, it ended in heartbreak on home turf as David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad clinched an eight-run victory in a nervy, high-scoring final played at a packed M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Sunrisers rejoiced after their bowlers held their own against the imposing RCB batting unit. The Hyderabad side were the first team to elect to bat first after winning toss in Bengaluru this season, but emerged the sixth winner after electing to bat first in nine editions.
Set a steep target of 209, it was left to the Kohli-led batting unit to achieve their biggest target of the season in the biggest game, having lost two finals, in 2009 and 2011.
RCB appeared on course with Chris Gayle getting them off to a flier. Kohli lived up to his reputation and performed on the big stage, scoring his seventh half-century of IPL 9. He became the highest run-getter ever in IPL (4110).
His dismissal ruled out any more reasons to celebrate as the rest of the batting unit crumbled under the pressure of maintaining a high run-rate. AB De Villiers and Shane Watson tried to push the score, but caved under pressure.
Sunrisers’ bowlers played their part. Buoyed by the return of in-form Mustafizur Rehman, they didn’t let go once they had the game in their grip.
Warner again laid the foundation, but his dismissal threatened to undermine the innings. A few lusty blows by Ben Cutting, ensured a solid total.
RCB took the game to the final over, needing 18 to win, but the hopes of the home fans had receded by then.
It had been touted as a contest between Royal Challengers’ batting and Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling attack. Quite aptly it came down that as the two sides vied for their maiden title, with RCB holding the edge playing at home. In the end, the Sunrisers bowlers stole Kohli’s thunder.