The Sunrisers Hyderabad fought back against a shellshocked RCB to win by eight runs on Sunday, and with that, their maiden IPL title.
RCB appeared home and dry as Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli rushed to 112-0 after 10 overs in pursuit of 209, but the Sunrisers bowlers held their nerve to rip through RCB’s star-studded batting lineup and leave them short.
The Royal Challengers went into this clash as the overwhelming favourites and on a run of five victories in a row. Seeking a first title themselves in their third IPL final, their chances looked even better as David Warner won the toss and curiously decided to bat.
The Australian took it in his own hands to back up that decision as he raced to a 23-ball fifty for his ninth half-century of the tournament. He eventually scored 69, which was the best total by a captain in an IPL final.
He put on 63 with Shikhar Dhawan (28), before seasoned campaigner Yuvraj Singh showed his experience to strike 38 off 23 balls. A competitive total then became a challenging one, as Ben Cutting smashed 23 runs off the final over off countryman Shane Watson, including the biggest six of the tournament (117 metres) to finish on 39 off just 15 balls. RCB were set 209 to win the tournament.
Gayle, who has had a mixed tournament, saved his best of the season for last as he struck eight sixes in a 38-ball 76. When he saw his side to 112-0 after 10 overs, aided by another sensational Kohli performance, it was difficult to see how Sunrisers could find their way back into it.
But they were given a glimmer of hope three balls into the 11th over, as Gayle mistimed one straight into the hands of Bipul Sharma, and it was the ever-present Cutting to find the breakthrough.
Kohli scored the majority of the 26 run-stand with AB de Villiers as they remained well on course for victory, but Kohli chopped one on for 54, as the whole of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium went silent. With each superstar that lost his wicket, Sunrisers’ chances increased. De Villiers skied one for five, Shane Watson also struck a shot high into the air to depart for 11.
The regular wickets made it increasingly difficult for RCB to gather any momentum, and eventually 18 runs were required off the final over. Bhuvneshawar Kumar, who walked away with the purple cap for most wickets in the tournament, held his nerve to get Sunrisers to their first ever IPL crown.