Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers put up an incredible performance to ruin Virat Kohli’s fairytale season beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by 8 runs in a high-octane summit clash walking away with their maiden Indian Premier League trophy. In a battle between IPL’s best batting and bowling line-ups, the Orange Army came up trumps despite initial blitzkrieg from Chris Gayle and Kohli, defending their total of 208 for seven by restricting the home team to 200 for seven.
It was David Warner’s batting and astute captaincy complemented by some inspirational death overs bowling by Mustafizur Rahaman (1/37 in 4 overs) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/25 in 4 overs) that clinched the issue.
Warner, who hit 68, finished second in run-getters’ list with 848 runs.
The turning point certainly would be the 24 runs that Ben Cutting (39 no and 2/35) got in the final over off Shane Watson’s bowling during Sunrisers innings and then came back to dismiss a rampaging Gayle.
With 18 needed off last over, Bhuvneshwar, who bowled 13 dot balls gave only 9 runs. As the last ball was delivered, skipper Warner’s joy knew no bounds with the entire team and dug-out joining him in wild celebrations.
Gayle (76 off 38 balls) and skipper Kohli (54 off 35 balls) had a scintillating opening stand of 114 in 10.3 overs as it looked like a cakewalk for the home team.
But in the end, Kohli was the tragic hero once again after the WorldT20 in a tournament that will be remembered for his exploits.
He finished the tournament with an astounding 973 runs at an average of 81.08 and and equally impressive strike-rate of 152.03. He hit an unbelievable four hundreds and seven half-centuries, not to forget 83 boundaries and a staggering 38 sixes.
Once the duo were back in quick succession, it depended AB de Villiers (5), who had one of his rare failures as Sunrisers came back into the match.
KL Rahul was done in by a slow off-cutter from Cutting and Shane Watson found it hard to get the big shots going as Mustafizur accounted for him.
Stuart Binny hit Mustafizur down the ground for a six as the equation came down to 37 from 3 overs.
But Bhuvneshwar bowled a brilliant 18th over keeping everything in the blockhole as only 7 came off the over.
RCB 30 were needed off last two overs as Binny (9) was run-out off the first delivery of the 19th over bowled by Mustafizur. Sachin Baby hit six off the last ball as RCB’s requirement of final over was 18 runs but Bhuvneshwar kept his cool to win the match for Sunrisers.
In pursuit of 209, it was Gayle who started the carnage with two sixes and a boundary off the fourth over bowled by left-arm Barinder Sran.
In the fifth over of the innings, Gayle hit Cutting for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries to bring up RCB’s 50.
Gayle was already in his 40’s when Kohli finally reached double figures as RCB also managed an identical 59 for no loss after Powerplays.
Gayle’s 50 came off 25 balls with a six down the ground off Moises Henriques.
The likes of Henriques and Cutting were guilty of bowling too many length balls to Gayle, who promptly dispatched them over the ropes.
The mayhem continued as the 100 came off 9 overs with Gayle’s contribution being 74 compared to Kohli’s 20.
Poor David Warner had no option but to bring Mustafizur for a second spell within the 10 overs but then the damage had been done as Kohli got into the act with a four and a six.
The Gayle mayhem ended when he tried to hit Cutting for a ninth six but mistimed it with Bipul Sharma running in from his third man position to take the catch.
Gayle’s 76 off 38 balls had four boundaries and eight sixes. By the time he was out, Kohli was already in his zone picking up boundaries at will. The 50 came off 32 balls with a six off Sran. But immediately after that Sran hit one back of the length and Kohli gave him the charge only to get an inside edge that saw the leg-bail being clipped.
The stadium was stunned into silence as Kohli’s 35-ball-54 studded with five fours and two sixes came to an end.
De Villiers and KL Rahul were two new men at the crease but the target was 68 off 42 balls, slomething well within their reach.
But it was left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma, who came to the party as he got De Villiers to give him inside out charge but he skied to Henriques.
This is the highest ever score by a team batting first in an IPL final. It was little-known Cutting who smashed 39 off 15 balls with three boundaries and four sixes to take the Sunrisers past 200-run mark. The last three overs produced 52 runs while Shane Watson (0/61 in 4 overs) went for 24 in his final over out of which Cutting scored 23.
Warner once again led from the front with another sizzling knock but the likes of Yuvraj Singh (38, 23 balls), Shikhar Dhawan (28, 25 balls) frittered away promising starts before Ben provided the ‘Cutting Edge’ with some lusty late hitting
For RCB, Sreenath Aravind (2/30 in 4 overs), Chris Jordan (3/45 in 4 overs) were the main wicket-takers.
Sunrisers started the attack in the penultimate over of the Powerplay where skipper Virat Kohli introduced Shane Watson into the attack. As many as 19 runs came off that over.
Both Watson and Dhawan helped themselves to a six each— the skipper hitting it over cover and the India international over long-on.
Chris Gayle, who shared the new ball with Sreenath Aravind had given 11 in his first two overs but went for 13 in the 6th over of the innings as the Powerplay yielded 59 runs.
It was the introduction of Yuzvendra Chahal that saw the home team drawing the first blood when Dhawan mistimed a slog sweep to be caught at square leg boundary by Jordan. The opening stand produced 63 runs.
Dhawan hit three fours and a six in his innings. But there was no stopping Warner as he blazed his way to
a 24-ball half centiry with two punish cut shots off Chahal, who lost the length of his leg breaks.
In the next over from Jordan, he first flicked and then cut the bowler for two boundaries.
Moises Henriques (4) may have shared a 34-run stand but it was all due to his skipper’s pyrotechnics as Jordan had something to cheer with the batsman giving skier to Chahal at mid-wicket.
Yuvraj got into the groove with a couple of well-times boundaries—a sweetly timed cover drive off Watson and then a whip off Jordan behind square. And he was not complete as the next was a six in the same region.
Warner’s 39-ball-68 had eight boundaries and three sixes.
Yuvraj hit one of the biggest sixes at the Chinnaswamy as he hoisted Chahal over long-off into top tier. The next was an effortless copybook cover drive and the elegant left-hander did not even bother to run.
In Aravind’s next over, he cut the bowler for a boundary but lost Deepak Hooda (3), who was holed in the deep.
Just when he was looking ominous, Jordan bowled a slower to get Yuvraj caught by Watson at extra cover having made 38 off 23 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.