Kane Williamson scored 47 before he was stumped by his opposite number MS Dhoni © IANS
Kane Williamson scored 47 before he was stumped by his opposite number MS Dhoni © IANS

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) middle-order had been their weakest link in the tournament. Their bowling had covered up a lot for them, defending paltry totals as they took significant strides towards the summit clash. When it mattered the most, in the final, the middle-order responded to the call, on a not-so-easy surface at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. SRH finished with 178 for 6 in their 20 overs in IPL 2018 Final against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Kane Williamson (47 in 36 balls), Shakib Al Hasan (23 in 15), Yusuf Pathan (45* in 25) and Carlos Brathwaite (21 in 11) made significant contributions towards the total after they were off to a relatively slow start, struggling at 17 for 1 after 4 overs.

CSK pulled back things slightly in their favour in the last few overs, giving away only 18 runs off last 2 overs, of which 12 runs came in sixes.

Sent in to bat on not the easiest of surfaces, CSK started with a no-ball, but that is the only where they erred. SRH could not make use of the free hit. Before the end of the second over, Shreevats Goswami was run out looking to complete a second run. The next over from Deepak Chahar went for just 3, while Lungi Ngidi bowled a maiden to a fidgety Kane Williamson.

There was some respite for Williamson in the fifth over when a top edge sailed for six. He got a four 2 balls later, and SRH dragged their run rate to 6. Shardul Thakur bowled the last over before Powerplay and conceded 12. SRH reached 42 for 1 in their Powerplay.

Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan, the most successful batting pair in this edition of IPL, were going steady. Dhawan smacked a boundary in Karn Sharma’s first over and Williamson followed it with a four over extra cover and a six off Dwayne Bravo. Then, just when the duo completed their 50-run stand, Dhawan was bowled trying to sweep Ravindra Jadeja.

IPL 2018: MS Dhoni records most stumpings in IPL, goes past Robin Uthappa
IPL 2018: MS Dhoni records most stumpings in IPL, goes past Robin Uthappa

Shakib showed intent to accelerate the moment he stepped in. The 11th over, bowled by Jadeja, was eventful. Williamson survived a stroke of luck when a thick edge almost lobbed to Ngidi at gully and cost CSK four. Williamson was again beaten by flight and survived a leg-before shout. Shakib ended the over with a six over mid-wicket and a four.

Williamson got back-to-back boundaries off Bravo in the next over. Shakib and Williamson added 37 off just 21 balls when MS Dhoni struck with his bowling change. Karn tossed it up wide of Williamson, who shimmied down the track to miss it and Dhoni completed a simple stumping, his 39th in IPL history — a new tournament record.

Yusuf started on a positive note, striking at will, evoking memories of IPL 2008 and 2014 finals. Bravo, who was leaking runs, finally got Shakib who failed to clear Suresh Raina at cover.

Surprisingly, SRH sent Deepak Hooda to bat ahead of Brathwaite (and Rashid Khan) in the 16th over. Not that it hurt much. The out-of-form Hooda faced only 4 balls , getting 3 and falling to Ngidi. Bravo welcomed his Caribbean mate with 2 wides in the 18th over. The first legal ball Brathwaite faced sailed well over the bowler’s head for a six. Yusuf finished the over with a straight boundary.

Ngidi bowled a brilliant penultimate over, foxing Brathwaite with the change of pace and alter of lengths. The final ball sailed for six but still 8 came off it.

Shardul went for 10 in his last over and claimed the wicket of Brathwaite with the final ball. CSK got 6 dot balls in their last 2 overs, which may prove decisive. SRH missed out on a trick with Rashid not getting to bat. Rashid finished with a 10-ball 34* just 48 hours ago.

The final started on a light note when toss presenter Sanjay Manjrekar was left confused thanks to Dhoni’s mischief. CSK brought in Karn for Harbhajan Singh, while SRH replaced an injured Saha with Goswami and brought in Sandeep Sharma for Khaleel Ahmed.

Brief scores

Sunrisers Hyderabad 178 for 6 in 20 overs [Kane Williamson 47 (36), Yusuf Pathan 45 (25)*; Lungi Ngidi 4-1-26-1] vs Chennai Super Kings

Full scorecard