The 2018 Indian Premier League came to an end with Chennai Super Kings celebrating their return to the IPL by winning the title. Captain Marvellous Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again showed the cricketing world, why he is still the best in the business.
Triumph of Chennai Super Kings – As it Happened
The Wankhede Stadium was jam-packed as the two strongest teams in the tournament were locking horns for the summit clash.
It was a clash of the titans as the dangerous CSK were up against the Sunrisers Hyderabad who had mesmerized the spectators through their bowling.
Chennai Super Kings were the favorites coming into the final as they had beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad on three previous occasions in the tournament. SRH came into the final at the back of a morale-boosting win against Kolkata Knight Riders which put an end to their four-match losing streak.
The Super Kings won the toss and elected to field first.
The SRH innings
The 2016 champs replaced injured keeper Wriddhiman Saha with backup Shreevats Goswami and this move did not yield a good output as Goswami was dismissed for just 5.
Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson added 51 runs for the second wicket before the former was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja after scoring 26. Williamson’s good form continued as he played some remarkable shots as he was nearing his half-century.
However, SRH’s charismatic leader fell victim to one of MS Dhoni’s archetypal agile stumpings off Karn Sharma’s bowling.
Following Williamson’s departure for 47, Shakib al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan began to show aggression.
Shakib departed but Yusuf Pathan kept going on and hit some terrific shots. He was well assisted by Carlos Brathwaite who smashed three gigantic sixes.
In the end, Sunrisers Hyderabad wrapped up their innings at 178/6. This was just the 6th instance that none of the players in a team scored a half century in an IPL final.
Among the CSK bowlers, Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi were pretty economical with the latter bowling a maiden and getting a wicket.
Chennai Super Kings charge onwards
This was the third successive final where CSK had to chase. In the previous two occasions in 2013 and 2015, CSK lost to Mumbai Indians by 23 and 41 runs respectively. This time, Chennai began quite slowly as the first over by Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a maiden. Shane Watson went 10 balls without a single run and Faf du Plessis hit a boundary but was dismissed shortly after by Sandeep Sharma.
The sleeping giant inside Watson awakens and takes CSK to title No.3
In the final power play over, Watson hit a six and a four off Sandeep Sharma to elevate CSK’s scoring rate. Watson and Raina then smashed 16 runs in Siddarth Kaul’s first over. The Super Kings were gradually elevating their run rate.
Kaul was hit for another 16 runs in his second over but Rashid Khan bowled two economical overs to keep CSK’s run rate in check. At the end of 10 overs, CSK were 80/1 with the required run rate being 9.9.
In the first ball of the 11th over, Watson swept a beautiful six off Shakib al Hasan over deep backward square leg to bring up his fifty from 33 deliveries. Raina was supporting Watson pretty well too.
However, the over that turned the match in Chennai’s favour was the 13th over. Sandeep Sharma was the bowler.
The first delivery was a yorker outside the off stump which yielded no runs. In the second delivery, Watson drove a lower full-toss past extra-cover for a four.
Sharma bowled a short delivery next ball and Watson knocked it over long on for a six despite the ball not being middled. The next delivery was a low full toss which Watson powered over the stands for another six.
The penultimate delivery saw Watson complete a hat-trick of sixes over long on. The last delivery was a wide and in the replay, the Aussie beautifully drove between gully and point for a boundary.
27 runs came from that over and CSK now needed just 48 from 42 balls to win their third IPL title. Raina was dismissed but Watson was still there and brought the required run rate down to below a-run-a-ball.
Watson eventually reached his century with a single and this was only the second century in an IPL final with the first one coming from Wriddhiman Saha 4 years back.
This was the first century in an IPL final while chasing, Watson’s second of the tournament and his 4th IPL hundred.
During the 18th over, Watto smashed two consecutive boundaries off Siddarth Kaul to reach 117, thus breaking Wriddhiman Saha’s 115 in the 2014 Final.
Ambati Rayudu finished the match with a boundary through the covers. The CSK players were ecstatic and celebrations were going all around the ground and in Chennai in particular.
This was CSK’s 3rd title which ties them with Mumbai Indians for the most number of IPL titles. It was also the first time the Super Kings won an IPL final while chasing. This feat has been attained only by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 and 2014.
Shane Watson was undoubtedly adjudged the Man of the Match for his monumental effort. CSK also became the first team to defeat one team four times in a single edition of the IPL.