As expected, the final of IPL season 9 between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore proved to be a close contest, and a high-scoring one at that. There were many fantastic performances worthy of a final. For Hyderabad, skipper David Warner came up with yet another half-century while Yuvraj Singh and Ben Cutting chipped in with quick 30s to take Hyderabad past 200. Then, when Bangalore batted, Chris Gayle came out all guns firing in the chase. He and in-form skipper Virat Kohli both hit fifties. In the end though, 209 proved too much for Bangalore to chase, as they lost their third final.
There were quite a few twists and turns in the game, but the wicket of Kohli proved to be one of the major turning points in the high-scoring encounter. Bangalore were very much in the game at 140 for 1 in the 13th over, when Kohli inside edged Barinder Sran on to his stumps for 54. Bangalore had already lost Gayle, who perished after slamming a scintillating 76 from 38, a knock studded with eight sixes. AB de Villiers fell cheaply for a change, and middle and lower order completely crumbled under pressure.
Even amidst all the quality fifties, it was Cutting’s superb all-round effort that gave Hyderabad the edge in the final. With the bat, he first ensured that Hyderabad went past 200. When Bipul Sharma was dismissed in the penultimate over, Hyderabad were 174 for 7. But, Cutting slammed Shane Watson for three sixes and a four in the last over to finish unbeaten on 39 from 15 balls, and made sure that Hyderabad had the momentum going into the chase. Cutting was not done yet though. He claimed the big wickets of Gayle and Lokesh Rahul with the ball, to put Bangalore on the back foot.
To their credit, after being pulverized Bangalore came back brilliantly with the bat. Gayle was sensational, in particular, rising to the occasion with the kind of innings that has made him a nightmare for bowlers around the world. Kohli also batted smartly around him. He gave Gayle most of the strike while he was at the crease. The partnership garnered 114 in 10.3 overs, and from that point Bangalore could definitely push for victory. But, Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers all perished too close to each other, and Watson too could not make up for his horror day with the ball.
In the end, Sunrisers had enough on the board to clinch the title, especially in a final. Warner again led from the front for his team, and his 69 ensured Hyderabad could put up a big score on the board. Although Shikhar Dhawan only contributed 28, his opening partnership of 63 with Warner gave the team the desired start. After Moises Henriques fell early, Yuvraj played a crucial hand with his 38, which kept the flow going for the batting side, before Cutting came in and took the match away from Bangalore with a rip-roaring cameo.
--By A Cricket Analyst