After an intense seven-week competition, the ninth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) drew to a close with an epic finish doing justice to a competitive edition. A chase of 209 runs went down to the wire but Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) kept their nerves to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 8 runs to lift their maiden IPL title on Sunday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
RCB’s explosive opener Chris Gayle made 76 off just 38 balls and Virat Kohli contributed 54 from 35 deliveries, but their opening stand of 114 runs from 63 balls went in vain as SRH bowlers bowled brilliantly in the last 10 overs to deny RCB the title.
Once the Gayke-Kohli duo was sent back to the pavilion, RCB batting fell like a pack of cards and in the end could manage to score 200 for 7 in 20 overs replying to Hyderabad’s 208 for 7.
Gayle and Kohli took RCB off to a flier and it looked that they will take RCB to a win with an over or two to spare, but once both the openers were dismissed, RCB ran out of steam and choked under pressure.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Ben Cutting and Bipul Sharma put in a great bowling effort to take SRH over the line.
Chasing 209 to win, Gayle made batting look ridiculously easy as he smashed bowlers all over the park. Kohli started his innings cautiously but soon opened his arms as well.
The big Jamaican smashed four fours and eight sixes in his knock of 76 but was outdone by a slower ball from Cutting that was well caught by Bipul at the short third man.
As soon as Gayle departed, Kohli took charge of Bangalore’s run-chase. Kohli brought up his seventh half-century of the tournament with a six but unfortunately missed out on reaching the 1000-run mark when he was clean bowled by Sran.
Kohli’s dismissal was the turning point of the match as after him RCB’s batting was in total disarray. AB de Villiers was unable to click and mistimed a shot, falling to Bipul for 5. KL Rahul played a nothing shot at a crucuial juncture of the match and was bowled by Cutting for 11. Allrounder Shane Watson (11) also fell cheaply off Mustafizur. From 114 for 0 RCB slipped to 164 for 5.
Stuart Binny got off the mark with a straight six but ended up getting run out in the penultimate over.
Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 208/7 in 20 overs (David Warner 69, Ben Cutting 39*; Chris Jordan 3-45) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 200/7 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 76, Virat Kohli 54; Ben Cutting 2-35) by eight runs