Shane Watson smashed an unbeaten 117 as Chennai Super Kings thrashed Sunrisers Hyderabad to win their third Indian Premier League title in a spectacular return from a two-year corruption ban.
The 36-year-old Australian hit eight sixes and 11 fours in a stunning 57 ball innings as Chennai took just 18.3 overs to overcome Hyderabad's 178-6 off 20 overs. Chennai finished on 181-2 to crush their opponents by eight wickets.
Ambati Rayudu was also unbeaten at the end on 16 in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium which was packed with more than 33,000 people.
Rayudu hit a four to complete victory but he led tributes to Watson.
"His experience saw us through. He is a world class player and when he is there anything can happen," Rayudu said.
Watson and Suresh Raina put on a swashbuckling 117-run second-wicket stand with Raina hitting 32.
Afghanistan teen sensation Rashid Khan returned figures of 0-24 for Hyderabad but Watson hit the other bowlers to every corner of the stadium.
The big-hitting Aussie allrounder plundered 27 runs off one Sandeep Sharma over.
Watson took a single off Khan to bring up his hundred in 51 balls and then acknowledged a standing ovation from the Chennai dugout and the crowd with his team already in sight of their IPL triumph.
The Australian's century was equally lauded on social media and here are some of the best reactions on Twitter.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) May 27, 2018
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) May 27, 2018
— Anjum Chopra (@chopraanjum) May 27, 2018
Shane Watson....... Doesn’t matter how Old you are......... #IPL2018Final
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) May 27, 2018
Against one of the strongest bowling attacks in IPL history, in the final & on the biggest stage - that is one of the great IPL innings from Shane Watson. He held his nerve to absorb massive early pressure before kicking on with crisp, powerful ball-striking. #IPL
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) May 27, 2018
Very very special performance @ChennaiIPL @ShaneRWatson33 take a bow mate...#crushedit God Bless you all as our beloved festival of @IPL comes to a conclusion. Love you India❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/sDHeLJucwq
— Matthew Hayden AM (@HaydosTweets) May 27, 2018
— Alan Wilkins (@alanwilkins22) May 27, 2018
Shane Watson - the only man to twice be IPL man of the tournament, and now a centurion in an IPL final - is one of the greatest T20 cricketers of all time
— Tim (@timwig) May 27, 2018
Very proud of the way @SunRisers played in this IPL, I thank each and every member of the @SunRisers family for their efforts and support. Absolutely brilliant knock from Shane Watson and many congratulations to @ChennaiIPL on a well-deserved victory #IPLfinal2018
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) May 27, 2018
Shane Watson is now the only player to score more than one century for two different teams in IPL history...
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 27, 2018
— CPL T20 (@CPL) May 27, 2018
That was truly spectacular #ShaneWatson!!! What an incredible win for #CSK. @msdhoni you are the BEST. I’m celebrating this win and the fact that @BCCI has partnered with @UNEnvironment to green cricket in India! Thank you for batting for the planet @BCCI #WIN #IPL2018Finals
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) May 27, 2018
That's got to be the best knock in the #IPLfinal history surely? @SunRisers have been the team to beat throughout the tournament and they can be extremely proud.Sometimes you can't do anything when an individual plays like that.Hats off #shanewatson and well deserved @ChennaiIPL
— Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) May 27, 2018
— Asjad Nazir (@asjadnazir) May 27, 2018
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According to reports, Indian players were not comfortable with the fifth Test being played as they feared some of them would have contracted the virus from Parmar.
Four-time winners Mumbai Indians, two-time champions Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and 2020 finalists Delhi Capitals were placed in the top-four when IPL was suspended in May due to COVID cases in its bio-bubble.
Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran are part of the CSK squad which has already started training ahead of the IPL resuming 19 September.