Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings completed a fairytale comeback to the Indian Premier League by clinching their third title after defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in the final on Sunday, in front of a packed Wankhede Stadium. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson played a knock for the ages as he launched a vicious attack on the well-oiled Sunrisers bowling machinery to take the Yellow brigade home with 9 balls to spare.
Chasing a fairly tough target of 179 runs to win the IPL for the first time since 2011, the Chennai Super Kings were off to a subdued start as the duo of Watson and Faf du Plessis (10) found the going difficult in the face of some disciplined bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma.
du Plessis tried to force the issue but was sent back on the last delivery of the fourth over by Sandeep, who took a well-judged high catch off his own bowling.
Watson, who had taken eleven balls to get off the mark showed first signs of his big-hitting ability in the sixth over as he hit Sandeep for a six and a boundary off consecutive deliveries. Watson continued to push the run-rate in the next over as he hit Siddarth Kaul for a six over square leg. Suresh Raina also got into the act as he hit two boundaries in the same over as CSK finally got some momentum.
Thereafter it was an out an out Watson show as he cut, pulled and drove with power and panache to put his team in command of the chase. The burly Australian was severe on the hapless Sandeep Sharma as he hit the medium pacer for a hat-trick of sixes and two boundaries in the 13th over, which effectively ended the contest.
Carlos Brathwaite removed Suresh Raina (32) in the next over but that turned out to be too little too late as there was no stopping the Australian.
Watson reached a much deserved century, his second of the season and fourth in his IPL career, in the 17th over to all but seal the deal for his team. Ambati Rayudu (16*) hit the winning runs in the 19th over as Watson remained unbeaten on 117 off 57 deliveries. This was the first century in an IPL final in a winning cause and a chase.
Earlier, the Sunrisers Hyderabad were off to a shaky start after being put into bat by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Sreevats Goswami, who was drafted back into the playing XI due to an injury to Wriddhiman Saha, was run out early in the innings while attempting a tight second run.
Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Kane Williamson put together a 51-run second-wicket stand to bring the innings back on track until the left-hander was clean bowled by Ravindra Jadeja in the 9th over.
Williamson continued to push the run-rate up in the company of the impressive Shakib Al Hasan as the Sunrisers looked to consolidate before launching a late attack. Those plans were derailed as Karn Sharma removed Williamson for 47. The Kiwi danced down the track to a wide delivery outside the off-stump and failed to connect. Dhoni removed the bails to send his counterpart back.
Yusuf Pathan joined Shakib in the middle and turned the clock back with his trademark power hitting. The Bangladeshi southpaw departed soon but that brought the dangerous Carlos Brathwaite to the middle. The West Indian along with Yusuf took the attack to the CSK bowlers.
Lungisani Ngidi and Shardul Thakur bowled well at the death to limit the damage but still could not stop the Sunrisers from posting a challenging total of 178 runs on the board.
Yusuf (45* off 25 balls) and Carlos Brathwaite (21 off 11 balls) were the chief architects of this score.
Chennai Super Kings' victory was their fourth over the Sunrisers in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
The Orange cap was won by Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson, who scored 735 runs in the season, the third highest in a single season of the IPL. The Purple Cap was won Kings XI Punjab's Australian paceman Andrew Tye, who finished the group stage with 24 wickets.