A myriad of hopes, two years of pain, agony and frustration, all came to a happy conclusion as Chennai Super Kings thumped Sunrisers Hyderabad for a fourth time this season to emerge as deserved winners of IPL 2018 at Wankhede on Sunday. What seemed to be a difficult run chase at the onset took a turn for the better once Shane Watson got going and the Yellow army finished the game with nine balls and eight wickets to spare. Here is the match report card.
Shane Watson - 10/10
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Not the most consistent of CSK batsmen this season, Shane Watson put behind his messy form in the last few games and smashed a second century in the season to rekindle the yellow fever in IPL. With the team looking for some inspiration after the late onslaught from Sunrisers, Watson began carefully, playing out ten dot balls, but went berserk with a flurry of boundaries off Sandeep Sharma to crack a fine hundred and take CSK home.
Yusuf Pathan - 10/10
Almost the show-stopper another time a decade after he played a telling knock in another IPL final, Yusuf Pathan did what he was bought to do at the auctions. He smacked a few biggies and racked up 45 in 25 balls to help Sunrisers Hyderabad to a daunting total in the first innings.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 10/10
Despite the heavy margin of victory, Chennai Super Kings did not have things on a platter early on and much of that credit goes to Bhuvneshwar, who began with a maiden and hit Test match like channels to keep the opening batsmen on the back-foot. Williamson used up three of his overs up front but he went wicketless, perhaps the only folly in an otherwise brilliant spell.
Kane Williamson - 9/10
His baffling decisions in the run chase aside, Williamson was a handful with the bat, keeping the scoreboard ticking and ensuring Sunrisers’ finishers had a decent platform to launch an attack from. He crossed 700 runs in the tournament and looked well set for another half-century when Karn Sharma's wide delivery had him stumped.
Lungi Ngidi - 9/10
If Deepak Chahar was excellent, Ngidi was twice the level. He started off with a superb maiden against the man firmly at the top of the run-getters chart and ended with an eight run over in the death to cap off a mind-blowing spell of fast bowling. Ngidi's dominant show is proof of how Chennai Super Kings have managed to get the services of another exceptional talent.
Suresh Raina - 8/10
With his team needing him to fire, Raina played the second-fiddle role, helping Watson gain strike and smashing the odd boundary himself. His 24-ball 33 was anything but spectacular but he kept a certain Rashid Khan at bay and for that in itself Raina ranks higher than expected in this report card.
Deepak Chahar - 7/10
In hindsight, he did what was asked of him. Wicketless in his four over spell, Chahar kept a leash on the scoring rate, bowling three up front and not allowing the likes of Dhawan and Williamson to utilise the powerplays. The lack of a wicket does not mar Chahar's exceptional opening spell.
MS Dhoni - 7/10
Though he did not bat, MS Dhoni's glovework and captaincy were right on the money in yet another final. His Karn Sharma-Harbhajan Singh swap proved to be a good move but even better was his stumping of Williamson off a wide ball from Karn. Dhoni’s ominous presence in the final is easy to be neglected given that he didn't even have to come out to bat.
Karn Sharma - 6/10
Pushed in ahead of Harbhajan, Karn had a lot to do to justify his inclusion. The Wankhede was Harbhajan's fortress for close to a decade in the IPL and it seemed weird that he was left out in favour of Karn. However, one moment of magic, where he outsmarted Williamson, to have him stumped gives the leg-spinner a decent rating.
Rashid Khan - 6/10
Used poorly by Williamson on Sunday night, Rashid Khan returned with figures of 0/24 although he threatened to explode in atleast one of his four overs. With a strong top order partnership set, Rashid had his task cut out and endured a difficult night.
Ambati Rayudu - 6/10
With Chennai's victory all but granted after Watson's assault on Sandeep Sharma, Ambati Rayudu walked in post Raina's dismissal to knock off the winning runs for his team. Given his magnificent season, Rayudu deserved to take Chennai to victory in the finals at Wankhede and did so calmly.
Shikhar Dhawan - 5/10
The 'Gabbar’, known for his big match knocks, took his time to get going against the Chennai seamers. With pressure mounting on him to up the ante, Dhoni brought on Ravindra Jadeja, someone he could attack given that the ball spun into the southpaw. However, his confident slog sweep missed the ball entirely and it sneaked underneath his bat to disturb the stumps. The 25-ball 26 wasn't the kind of start Sunrisers needed from their big match player.
Carlos Brathwaite - 5/10
Sunrisers Hyderabad's play-off has been marred by heavy criticism about Carlos Brathwaite's inclusion. However, in two of the three games he played, Brathwaite manage to make a better impression than some of his famed teammates. His late cameo was coupled up with a sharp bouncer to get rid of Raina but both of his exploits came a tad too late for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Shakib-al-Hasan - 4/10
Shakib came in with Williamson needing some much needed support from the other end. He not only accelerated the scoring rate but also played the second-fiddle role to perfection even after Williamson departed and Yusuf joined him. He came late into the attack and conceded 15 off his first over.
Shardul Thakur - 4/10
With his familiar spring in the steps absent, Thakur leaked quite a few runs in his three over spell. His first two overs were quite expensive but his death bowling skills prompted Dhoni to give him the ball for the final over and he delivered, although a six off the penultimate ball took the sheen off a fine over.
Ravindra Jadeja - 3/10
Unlike his uber economic spell the other night against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Jadeja went at 12 runs per over in his two overs but had the big scalp of Dhawan to show for. With Sunrisers’ trusted pair running away with the game, Jadeja broke the stand by sending his Indian International teammate back to the pavilion.
Dwyane Bravo - 2/10
Bravo was brilliant in parts during the final at Wankhede but somewhere between his deadly slower balls and sharp bouncers, the X-factor of Bravo has gone missing this IPL. His four over spell included the big scalp of Shakib but he conceded 46 runs, including sixteen off his last.
Sandeep Sharma - 2/10
A sharp opening two overs from Sandeep Sharma went awry as he conceded 42 in his final two to return with horrifying figures. Watson went on the rampage against him, smashing three sixes and two fours in a 27 run over that all but sealed the game for CSK.
Siddarth Kaul - 1/10
The skiddy Kaul had been blowing hot and cold right through the season and unfortunately for Sunrisers Hyderabad he was ice cool (the wrong way of course) in the finals on Sunday. His first two overs proved to be the beginning of Chennai's surge and his spell ended with devastating figures of 0/43 in three overs.
Faf du Plessis - 1/10
The South African skipper, coming off the back of a brilliant match-winning half-century against the same team, was tied up by Bhuvneshwar and Sandeep. The new ball bowlers were accurate with their channels and like his partner, Watson, du Plessis struggled to get going early on. The end came when he skied a return catch to Sandeep when on 10.
Shreevats Goswami - 1/10
The Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket-keeper walked back into the side for the all important finals and found himself pushed against the wall by the merciless duo of Ngidi and Chahar. Almost as though to escape from them, he took off for a suicidal second run to gift Chennai Super Kings an early wicket in the powerplay overs.
Deepak Hooda - 1/10
The all-rounder was brought into the XI to fill in for a woefully out of form Manish Pandey but fared worse, looking to smash everything out of the park and ending up with three runs in all. His costly overthrow early in the run chase gave Chennai four extra runs.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor