Watson drives Wankhede wild

Amol Gokhale
Monday, 28 May 2018

It was the same Mumbai crowd which previously sang ‘Vande Mataram’ during India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup triumph, they cried ‘Sachin Sachin’ as the maestro bid adieu to the game.

Mumbai: It was the same Mumbai crowd which previously sang ‘Vande Mataram’ during India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup triumph, they cried ‘Sachin Sachin’ as the maestro bid adieu to the game.

On Sunday, the occasion was totally different and of much less significance, but Wankhede Stadium was hosting the IPL final for the first time. The majority crowd donning the yellow of Chennai Super Kings weren’t really creating an atmosphere during the first innings of the match when Sunrisers Hyderabad batted.

The second half was a completely different story though. Chennai had started their chase of 179 on a cautious note, with Shane Watson, in particular, opening his account on the 10th ball he faced. The volume levels kept going up from there onward as Watson’s unbeaten 117 guided CSK to their third IPL title, completing their fairytale comeback in the tournament.

The crowd in the stadium on the Marine Drive went berserk when Watson started sending the balls into the stands after the power play ended. The Australian in particular, went after young Siddarth Kaul as the speedster went for 43 runs in his 3 overs.

Watson, who had reached fifty in 33 balls with three fours and four sixes, took the game to another level as he completed his century in 51 balls, with next 50 runs coming in just 18 balls, as the powerful Australian finished off any hopes of the Sunrisers’ comeback.

Watson, in one of the press conferences during the course of the tournament, had heaped praise on the Mumbai crowd for being one of the best supporters of Chennai Super Kings and the crowd just proved the man-of-the-match right.

It was just a one-man show in the run chase as Watson’s innings was laced with 11 fours and 8 sixes, who was ably supported by Suresh Raina’s 32 of 24.

Earlier, a collective batting effort from batsmen saw SRH post 178 for 6 with skipper Kane Williamson (47 off 36) and Yusuf Pathan (45 off 25) making the notable contributions. Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers for CSK with figures of 1/24.

As the yellow brigade at the Stadium kept singing CSK… CSK... the MS Dhoni-led side completed their remarkable comeback, showing why they are the most loved side in the IPL.

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