Throughout this season, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s death bowlers have rescued them to eke out wins on various occasions. Thus, it was only fair that their death specialists had a fairy tale ending themselves, gifting their team a maiden IPL title.
Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made sure the Royal Challengers Bangalore were unlucky third time also in the title clash as they scripted a nail-biting eight-run win for their side in their first-ever IPL final.
Chasing SRH’s 208/7, RCB were well on their way to glory at 158/3 after 15 overs. But Bhuvneshwar and Rahman, who was back in the team after sitting out of the Eliminator due to injury, worked their magic once again.
They choked the hosts with their usual street-smartness, giving away just 38 runs in their last four overs and picking up three wickets. There were hugs all around the SRH camp after the last ball, a sense of relief and satisfaction, for they knew the win was hard-earned.
Unlike the end, RCB began in fifth gear, collecting the exact amount of runs that SRH did in their powerplay overs: 59. Virat Kohli contributed only 10, Chris Gayle ensuring his captain didn’t have to do much. After a six off the second over, the Jamaican flexed his muscles against the young Barinder Sran, smacking two sixes and a four on the leg side.
In the next over, Gayle upper cut Ben Cutting for six with ridiculous ease, and brought up his half-century in just 25 balls two overs later by striking a maximum straight over Moises Henriques’s head. But unlike SRH who lost a wicket just after powerplay, RCB marched on, racing to 100 in just 54 balls. Kohli too got into the act, taking the attack to SRH’s best, Rahman. The skipper first stepped down and drove him past deep cover for four, and then danced down the wicket and lofted him over mid-off for a six.
Just as the game was running away from them, Cutting got a breakthrough, Gayle edging a past that flew to a running Bipul Sharma at third man that ended brutal knock of 76. Kohli then took over, bringing up his fifty with probably the shot of the match, coming down the track and driving Sran over covers for a six.
But against the run of play, Kohli chopped himself on as RCB lost their second wicket on 140 in the 13th over. Five balls later, AB de Villiers threw his wicket away to Sharma, and SRH had an opening. The visitors seized on it, Cutting removing KL Rahul and Rahman foxing Shane Watson in in the 16th and 17th overs, respectively, to cause panic in the RCB line-up. Binny felt it, running himself out in the 19th over. With 18 needed off the final over, it was too much for RCB to achieve, especially against the cunning Bhuvneshwar.
The victory was only fitting was captain David Warner, who once again led his team from the front with the bat. Earlier, skipper David Warner blasted his way to a 38-ball-69 as unheralded Ben Cutting’s incredible hitting enabled Sunrisers Hyderabad get to a competitive 208 for seven.