Chennai Super Kings completed a fairy tale comeback, clinching their third IPL title after Shane Watson single-handedly hammered Sunrises Hyderabad into submission with an unbeaten 57-ball 117 in the final.
Reinstated into the IPL after a two-year ban, CSK outplayed SRH by eight wickets in a high-pressure game.
Watson smashed as many as 11 fours and eight sixes en route to his second hundred of the season as CSK chased Sunrisers’ 178 in 18.3 overs. Kane Willamson (47 off 36) and Yusuf Pathan (45 not out off 25) were the key contributors in the SRH innings.
Watson shared a 117-run partnership with Suresh Raina (32 off 24) for the second wicket, ensuring a smooth chase for CSK.
Super Kings had beaten the Willamson-led side four times in as many games this season. The MS Dhoni-led side had entered a seventh IPL final and their stellar campaign ended with a record-equalling third title (only Mumbai Indians have won as many).
Star of the night: Shane Watson
Watson, who previously won the title with Rajasthan Royals in the league’s inaugural season in 2008, muscled his way to 50 in only 33 balls and then smashed Sandeep Sharma for 26 runs in the 13th over to make it a virtual no-contest.
It was not a surprise that he ended up with 555 runs in the season including two hundreds and as many half centuries.
Earlier, Williamson missed out on yet another fifty in a highly successful season as Sunrisers Hyderabad piled on a challenging score after a slow start.
Williamson led his side from the front once again hitting two sixes and five fours in his innings before Pathan pummeled the opposition bowlers in the death overs. Carlos Brathwaite (21 off 11) came up with the much needed big hits towards the end to take his team close to 180.
Super Kings struck an early blow when Shreevats Goswami was run out. The fall of the early wicket and a maiden over bowled to Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson by Ngidi kept the score down to 17 for 1 in four.
Deepak Chahar, who was bowling well till then, dug in one short to Williamson in the fifth over who smacked it for a six over long leg and then was pulled for a four.
Williamson scooped Dwayne Bravo for a four and a six in the bowler’s first over to increase the run-rate.
As the second wicket partnership went over the 50-mark, it was snapped by Ravindra Jadeja who bowled Dhawan when the left-handed opener missed a slog on the 25th ball he faced.
After Williamson fell at 101 for 3, Sunrisers, with their fragile middle order, were in a bit of a bother. But Pathan put on 32 runs with Shakib before the latter drove Bravo straight to Raina at extra cover and was caught.
It was later left to Pathan and big-hitting West Indian Brathwaite to give the total a big boost at the death as they added 34 runs in the last three overs.