Watson fires CSK to IPL title
Veteran Aussie’s gritty ton confirms easy win for Chennai over SRH in marquee clash
mumbai: Chennai Super Kings completed a fairy tale comeback from disgrace to glory, clinching their third IPL title after imposing all-rounder Shane Watson single-handedly hammered Sunrises Hyderabad into submission with a blazing hundred in the final here on Sunday.
Reinstated into the IPL after a two-year ban for their team management's role in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, CSK outplayed SRH by eight wickets with Watson's unbeaten 117 off 57 balls in a high-pressure game being the icing on the cake.
The Australian smashed as many as 11 fours and eight sixes enroute to this second hundred of the season as CSK raced home in 18.3 overs. SRH had posted a challenging 178 for six courtesy Kane Willamson (47 off 36) and Yusuf Pathan (45* off 25).
The other in-form CSK batsman, Ambati Raydu, hit the winning four that led to wild celebrations. Watson also shared a 117-run partnership with Suresh Raina (32 off 24) for the second wicket, ensuring a smooth chase for CSK.
Such was Super Kings' domination over an otherwise formidable SRH that they beat the Willamson-led side four times in as many games this season.
The M S Dhoni-captained side had entered a seventh IPL final and their stellar campaign ended with a record equalling third title, tying them up with Mumbai Indians.
The star of the night was one and only Shane Watson.
The 36-year-old, 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 surprise that he ended 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 pummelled the opposition bowlers in the death overs. Carlos Brathwaite (21 in 11) came up with the much needed big hits towards the end to take his team close to 180.
CSK kept a tight rein on the Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen initially while also taking a wicket through a run-out. The first four overs saw only one boundary being hit – a turn to fine leg for four by Dhawan off Lungi Ngidi.
Super Kings also 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 by the New Zealander.
And when Shardul Thakur too erred in length, he was hoisted over long on by Dhawan for a maximum, taking SRH to 42 for 1 by the end of Powerplay.
Williamson, by now into the groove, drove and scooped Dwayne Bravo for a four and a six in the bowler's first over, and the 8th overall, to increase the run-rate further.