Chennai Super Kings lifted their third IPL trophy after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday by 8 wickets. Chasing 179 in 20 overs, CSK rode on an unbeaten 117 from Shane Watson to go over the line. The Chennai franchise made its comeback to the cash-rich league after facing a two-year ban.
CSK lost an early wicket in the form of Faf du Plessis but Watson stood strong at the other end. He did face a few problems in the starting but dominated the bowlers thoroughly once he was settled. With Watson, it was Suresh Raina who played an importnat innings of 32 off 24 balls before getting out to Carlos Brathwaite. Raina tried to pull a short delivery from Brathwaite but didn’t time it well.
Later, Ambati Rayudu who came in at number four in the final hit the winning stroke. He scored a boundary through the covers to wrap up the match for his side. With this finale win, CSK became the second team to win third IPL trophy.
Mumbai Indians achieved the feat in 2017 after beating Rising Pune Supergiant in the final match.
Even SRH head coach couldn’t resist himself from praising Watson’s innings and he said, “I saw something special tonight. Shane Watson’s innings was just out of the box; they needed something special and that’s what Watson provided. I think the season has been really good. We had a few setbacks early on with a few players unavailable. It wasn’t a bad thing for us to come back to earth after the start, rejig something for the finals. Kane has shown the cricketing world that he can play all three formats leisurely. We are really fortunate to have him in the squad and every team is lucky to have him at the helm. [On Rashid] He’s a terrific cricketer, not only in India but everybody’s fallen in love with him. Not only his bowling, we saw what a flash he had with the bat in Calcutta. He’s been a fantastic cricketer.”
IPL 2018 final saw a lot of records being broken. MS Dhoni appeared in his 9th IPL final while CSK made it to the summit clash for the seventh time. Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson ended as the leading run-scorer with 735 runs under his belt.
Williamson became the fifth batsman after Virat Kohli, Mike Hussey, Chris Gayle and David Warner to reach the milestone. Kohli is at the helm of this list with most number of runs in one season as he scored 973 runs in 2016 edition of the IPL.
Stephen Fleming expressed delight after the win and said, “Each year has been different for us. We stayed pretty consistent with the core of our team when others kept chopping and changing. It’s one thing that players are older, but it’s the professionalism that we got look into as well. MS Dhoni handles me (smiles). It’s about man-management. When he goes on the field he can do the things. There’s a lot of trust as well and it’s a nice relationship to have with him.”
The Chennai franchise opted for a squad that has players who were generally over 30. They did face a lot of criticism for the selection but the experience of these players and especially Dhoni’s captaincy worked in CSK’s favour and gave them their third IPL trophy.
MSD has been a part of Rising Pune Supergiant franchise when CSK faced the two-year ban. The Pune franchise didn’t reaaly impress during his reign as the skipper but ended their journey as runners up in their second edition (2017). Dhoni stepped down a sthe skipper then and Steve Smith led the side.
Dwayne Bravo became a part of the Gujarat Lions franchise that was led by Suresh Raina before joingn the CSK side back again. Both Raina and Bravo were back in the Chennai kits in the IPL 2018.
Chennai Super Kings roped in Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh as new recruits. Thakur and Tahir had shared the dug out with Dhoni during his stint with Pune while Harbhajan and Rayudu left Mumbai Indians and joined CSK. Harbhajan had been a part of MI line up right from the starting of the tournament.
Shane Watson ended his IPL 2018 campaign with 555 runs in 15 matches with two tons to his name while Ambati Rayudu concluded IPL 2018 as the highest run-getter for CSK. He scored 602 runs in 16 matches.
Shane Watson got a place in CSK line up after he wasn’t retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Watson has now been a part of Rajasthan Royals, RCB and CSK.
Skipper MS Dhoni too had a decent tournament as he scored 455 runs in 16 matches while Raina followed him in the tally with 445 in 15 matches. In the bowling department, India bowler SHardul Thakur picked most wickets for CSK as he bagged 16 wickets in 13 matches. Another bowler who came in notice was medium pacer Deepak Chahar. Chahar became the strike bowler for CSK in the matches that he featured and attracted a lot of attention for his ability to swing the ball either ways.
Now MI and CSK have three IPL titles to their name while KKR have lifted the trophy twice.