Finally, after almost two months of scintillating T20 cricket in the Indian Premier League 2018, it all came down to the big final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
The two teams that topped the points table, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) met again in the finals of the IPL 11 to determine which the best team in this year’s tournament is. CSK came into this tournament with three wins over SRH in three matches, while SRH regained their bowling form.
Luck shined on MS Dhoni as he won the all-important toss and chose to bowl first, a popular choice amongst toss winning captains at the Wankhede. CSK made one change to their team, as offie Harbhajan Singh made way for leg-spinner Karn Sharma; while SRH brought in Shreevats Goswami to keep wickets in place of injured Wriddhiman Saha.
SRH had a not so perfect start when Goswami ran himself out going for a non-existent second run for the score of 5. Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Kane Williamson (47 off 36 balls with 2 sixes and 5 fours) added 51 runs for the second wicket before Dhawan was bowled by Jadeja. Karn Sharma had Williamson stumped and SRH looked in a bit of trouble at 101/3 in the 13th over.
Shakib hit some blows for his 23 runs before Bravo had him caught by Raina. But Yusuf Pathan (45* in 25 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes) and Craig Brathwaite (21 in 11 balls) took SRH to 178/6 in 20 overs in the final.
For CSK, every bowler except Chahar picked a wicket, but Shardul (1/31), Karn (1/25) and Ngidi (1/26) stood out for their performances and death overs bowling.
Chennai knew how much they had to score and Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis came out to open the innings. Bhuvneshwar started off with a maiden to start off well for SRH. And Sandeep Sharma had Faf du Plessis caught and bowled for 10. Watson, who started off very slowly, started hitting the bowlers out of the park, once Bhuvneshwar was finished with his spell (0/9 in 3 overs).
At the midway stage, CSK was 80/1, needing 99 runs in 10 remaining overs with 9 wickets in hand and Watson unbeaten on 51 off 33 balls with 4 sixes and 3 fours and Raina on 22* in 17 balls with 3 fours.
It was Watson in the end, who took the attack to SRH bowlers and gave special attention to Sandeep Sharma, hitting him for three consecutive sixes and 27 runs in the 13th over of the innings. Brathwaite had Suresh Raina caught behind for 32 in 24 balls with 3 fours and 1 six.
Watson bought up his second hundred of IPL 2018 in 51 balls, but would definitely count this amongst the
Shane Watson became the second batsman in IPL history to score a century in the finals of the tournament, the other being Wriddhiman Saha, who made 115* against KKR in IPL 2014 finals.
Watson's brilliant century took CSK to its third IPL title, tying them with MI for the most IPL title wins in tournament history.
Despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar's best efforts, SRH lost the match and chance to lift the IPL 2018 trophy to some ordinary bowling.
The SRH bowling which had regained some form in the previous match, let them down, along with the poor score in the power play overs, despite the rebuilding phase by Williamson and Yusuf Pathan. Even Bhuvneshwar and Rashid couldn't help SRH out of the mess and though they gave just 17 and 25 runs respectively, them not picking up any wickets hurt SRH badly.
Ambati Rayudu hit a four to make CSK the IPL 2018 champions, while Watson remained not out on 117 off 57 balls with 11 fours and 8 sixes.
CSK, on the other hand, won thanks to the sheer willpower of the experienced Shane Watson, who started off poorly and played through a niggle, purely as a batsman.
CSK captain MS Dhoni lifted the IPL trophy for the first time since 2011 and became the second captain to win the IPL title three times, a fitting performance by an extraordinary cricketer.
SRH 178/6 (K WILLIAMSON 47; R JADEJA 1/24) lost to CSK 181/2 (S WATSON 117* ; C BRATHWAITE 2/27 ) by 8 wkts