IPL 2018, Final, CSK vs SRH: Sandeep Sharma being pummeled for 27 runs is SK Turning Point of the Match
The Chennai Super Kings, who returned to the Indian Premier League this season after a two-year suspension, have made a perfect comeback to the competition by lifting their third IPL trophy in nine seasons. They are now tied with Mumbai Indians for most titles won in the history of the tournament.
They had the upper hand over the Sunrisers Hyderabad going into the final, winning three out of three games against Kane Williamson's men this season. The big game began well for MS Dhoni, as he won the toss and opted to chase at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday (May 27).
SRH batted extremely well in the first innings, though, riding on the back of strong performances from Williamson and Yusuf Pathan to reach a mammoth total of 178-6 after 20 overs. The chase was touted to be extremely difficult for the Men in Yellow, more so as the team they were up against had defended four totals below 175 earlier in the season.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the second innings in a brilliant fashion, bowling a terrific maiden to Shane Watson upfront. The lack of runs in the first two overs of the game added to the pressure on the CSK batting line-up. However, Watson held his wits beautifully on the day, and from being 0 from 10 at one point in the innings, went on to score an unbeaten 117 off just 57 deliveries at the end of it all.
The SK Turning Point of the game came in the 13th over of the second innings, when the blistering duo of Watson and Suresh Raina slammed Sandeep Sharma for 27 runs off just six deliveries. This was the over pushed CSK in the driver's seat in the match. After the immense thumping that Sharma was subjected to then, it became all too easy for CSK's experienced campaigners to clinch victory on the day.
They raced to the target in just 18.3 overs with a margin of eight wickets, inscribing their name on the trophy yet another time.
Dhoni's plan of bringing in Karn Sharma in place of Harbhajan Singh also fell into place perfectly on the day, as the wrist-spinner scalped the crucial wicket of Williamson, just as the latter was getting into his groove in the first innings. The CSK skipper also persisted with Watson instead of Ambati Rayudu at the top of the batting order and that turned out to be the decision that scripted a perfect win for his team.
IPL 2018 has been an incredible tournament and the Chennai Super Kings, without a shadow of a doubt, are its deserved champions. They chose experience over youth in the auction and persisted with their long-term players therein, showing undying faith in their abilities. Despite being moved to a different home venue halfway through the tournament, they were the second team to book their place in the playoffs.
Dhoni, with his tactical acumen and awareness, now has another trophy to his glittering resume this year and his legend just keeps growing more and more every year!