Mumbai: Bring out the Whistles, bring out the Yellove and let the celebrations begin. The fairy-tale IPL comeback, after a two-year suspension, is complete. The gang of ‘oldies’ is now a gang of ‘goldies’. Chennai Super Kings are back and back with a bang and they are the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 Champions.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, well-fought, but better luck next time. You deserved to be in the final, but the Sunday night in Mumbai, was CSK’s and of Shane Watson's, the man, who once made winning gold in Yellow a habit while playing for Australia, did it wearing CSK’s yellow at the Wankhede Stadium.
Suresh Raina, who scored 32 and put up a mammoth 117-run second-wicket stand, wanted the team to win IPL 2018 for MS Dhoni and Watson put up his hand, saying, “I will do it for the skippa” as CSK lifted their third IPL trophy to equal Mumbai Indians’ record as the ‘Thala’ Dhoni became only the second skipper after Rohit Sharma to have led a team to three IPL triumphs.
After a tricky spell of first five overs, where CSK could only score 20 runs and Watson took 11 balls to open his account, chasing 180, the team chased down the steep SRH total with 9 balls to spare and 8 wickets in hand, overcoming Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s testing first spell and negating the Rashid Khan threat.
Opting to field, CSK, in what could be a pendulum-like first-half of the final, did not allow SRH to go past 178 despite Williamson and Yusuf Pathan’s quickfire 40s and Carlos Brathwaite’s breezy 21.
While CSK started the proceedings with a no-ball and a free hit, SRH lost their first wicket early as Shreevats Goswami, who replaced injured Wriddhiman Saha in the playing XI, was run out in the second over.
Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan, SRH’s top two batsmen in IPL 2018, then joined hands and put up a 51-run partnership before an ungainly hoick, off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling, ended Dhawan’s stay in the middle.
Shakib Al Hasan then upped the ante and how. He targeted Jadeja as the 11th over went for 17 runs, the most expensive over of the innings, and Williamson took on Bravo as SRH brought up their 100 in the 12th over.
Then, CSK struck and struck big as Karn Sharma, who replaced Harbhajan Singh in the side for the all-important final, outfoxed the leading run-getter of IPL 2018.
Karn threw one wide, seeing Williamson dancing down the track, and once the SRH skipper had failed to connect his bat with the ball, Dhoni did the rest, whipping the bails off in the 13th over.
While Yusuf Pathan wasted no time going after the bowlers, CSK pegged SRH back as Dwayne Bravo, who otherwise had a night to forget, dismissed Shakib in the 16th over.
Deepak Hooda could not do much as Lungi Ngidi sent him packing in the 17th over, SRH having 144 runs on the board. Although Brathwaite had a hit and miss kind of a stay in the middle, he managed to score 21 off 11 balls, hitting three sixes, as SRH managed to score 178 runs at the end of 20 overs....