IPL 2019: Top 3 knocks by Shane Watson in IPL History
#1. Watson’s 117 not out for CSK against SRH in IPL final 2018
When Shane Watson was bought by CSK in the IPL auction 2018, it caused a lot of eyebrows to raise. Everyone, except the CSK think tank, thought he was an ageing cricketer struggling to remain fit and past his best. But CSK was spot on with their assessment.
Even before reaching the finals, Watson had scored 438 runs for CSK and had taken 6 wickets. With the countless bowling options at his disposal, the CSK captain M.S.Dhoni under bowled Watson for the entire season and kept him fit for batting.
In the final of IPL 2018, CSK asked SRH to bat first. SRH put up a decent score of 178 on the board which one thought was formidable in a final where the pressure of chasing would be enormous. SHR had a potent bowling attack with the presence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan. Besides, in the previous 10 editions of IPL, only on 3 occasions, a team chasing in the final had won. For CSK, the task was cut out.
CSK opened with Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis. Bhuvi started the proceedings for SRH. Watson was beaten off the very first ball and very nearly edged it behind. He could n’t put bat to ball in the entire over. He was once again dangerously beaten off the last ball of the over as Bhuvi started off with a maiden.
CSK and Watson could not score a single run off Bhuvi’s first 10 balls. Watson survived a confident LBW shout against Sandeep Sharma in the fourth over. He was stuck on 0 off 10 balls. He was a strokeless wonder waiting to be dismissed. There were only 3 scoring shots in the first 3 overs of the CSK innings which produced only 10 runs.
After watching Watson scratching around for 10 deliveries, the CSK fans thought it was not his day and the team would have been better off had the umpire upheld the LBW appeal against him. They never knew what was coming.
Finally, off the 11th ball he faced, Watson scored his first run with a straight-driven four off Sandeep Sharma. However, at the other end Du Plessis, CSK’s hero in Qualifier 1, succumbed to the pressure created by Watson’s inaction.
The SRH captain Kane Williamson opted to give Bhuvi his third over which created more anxious moments for Watson. Watson was on 8 off 16 balls when he decided to go hell for leather.
He started off with his favourite mid-wicket pull which vanished into the crowd. In the next over, Siddarth Kaul was flicked over square leg as the 6th and 7th over of the innings produced 15 and 16 runs respectively.
Sensing Watson’s murderous mood, Williamson brought on his main strike bowler Rashid Khan as early as in the 7th over itself. Watson cleverly played out that over and the next over from Rashid as he reached 28 off 25 balls. He targeted the other bowlers Kaul and Shakib Al Hasan as he reached his 50 off 33 balls.
CSK nearly needed 100 off the last 10 overs with Watson and Raina at the wicket. Sandeep Sharma came back spell saw Watson spanking 2 fours and 3 consecutive sixes as 27 runs were conceded in that over.
Even the dismissal of Raina did not stop Watson from hammering Carlos Brathwaite for a four and six in the same over that Raina got out. When Rayadu joined Watson, the outcome was a foregone conclusion and the only interest left in the match was whether Watson could score a hundred in the finals. By the time Bhuvi and Rashid Khan were brought back as a last-ditch effort, it was game over for SRH.
Watson duly reached his 100 off 51 balls. He finished with 117 not out off 57 balls with 11 fours and 8 sixes with an incredible strike rate of 205. From 28 off 25 balls, he scored his next 89 runs off 32 balls at an unbelievable strike rate of 278.
Due to Watson’s remarkable innings, CSK won the title for the third time. Shane Watson has played the best innings ever played in an IPL final.