Indian Premier League

Sunrisers a cut above RCB, lift IPL 2016 trophy

What a shocking turnaround tonight by Sunrisers Hyderabad, to win by 8 runs after Chris Gayle unleashed months-worth of pent-up fury to give Royal Challengers Bangalore an unreal start with a 38-ball 76. Gayle and his captain Virat Kohli shared a 114-run opening partnership, and you'd have thought — I certainly did — that the game was done and dusted. Or at any rate, RCB's to lose.

But Ben Cutting, who had a night he will tell his great-grandkids about, with the bat (a game-snatching cameo of 39 off 15 balls) and the ball (2 for 35), cut into the RCB juggernaut with Gayle's wicket. Then the decline that followed was almost insidious, as Kohli played on, AB de Villiers holed out, KL Rahul had his stumps scissored, and Shane Watson played a shot he could look most aggrieved about. And thanks to the drastic turnarounds engineered by Cutting — in both innings — Sunrisers were able to put one over RCB — led by a driven Kohli — in their own den.





In the end, a team that revels in chasing down any total with the swashbucklers in its batting line-up was unable to match up to the towering target of 209 — an intimidating edifice — set up by the Sunrisers, courtesy an outrageously in-form David Warner, a flourishing Yuvraj Singh and a cutting cameo that sprouted 52 unassailable runs in the final 3 overs.

In case I haven't been clear today, Ben Cutting was my Man of the Match. And so he is, for the adjudicators too. He actually gives the Chinnaswamy stadium credit for the sixes he hit. Twisted logic, but it's the modesty that counts.

And a pretty sad end of the road for RCB. They won 7 of 8 matches going into this Final game. And now their record stands at 7 wins out of 9 games. Which is still pretty awesome, although it was the clincher that they ended up relinquishing.









RCB 200/7 after 20 overs (I Abdulla 4 off 2 | S Baby 18 off 10 || lose by 8 runs)

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar with the final over of IPL 2016.

Begins with a full-toss, which is as good as the yorker he just missed. Jordan gets a taste of his own medicine, as he ekes it out to Long-on for a single. 17 needed off 5 balls.

Baby gets another low full-toss, scooped over Short Fine-leg for 2 runs. 15 needed off 4 balls.

Now, Bhuvi gets his yorker right. Just outside off, and Jordan can't get any bat on it. But he sets off on a suicidal run. And he is gone run-out by miles as Ojha breaks the stumps. More importantly, dot ball. 15 STILL needed from 3 balls.

Iqbal Abdulla can only pad the full-toss away as Warner lets out a furious whoop. And they run through for a leg bye. This is tough, for RCB, now. Tough to digest, that is. Near impossible to win. 14 needed from 2 balls.

Another full delivery from Bhuvi. Baby gets a run down to Short Third-man, and Warner is now red as a tomato and jubilant as a winning captain. 13 needed from 1 ball (not that it matters any more).

Abdulla scoops that full-toss for four down Fine-leg. But that's still 8 runs short. And Baby is devastated.

And that's a historic victory for Sunrisers. And Warner is going to burst a blood vessel at some point tonight!





RCB 191/6 after 19 overs (C Jordan 2 off 3 | S Baby 15 off 7 || need 18 from 6 balls)

The Fizz has to stick to his guns this over, and RCB are all but gone.

First ball, and Binny (9 from 7) is run-out. His long-handle was the one thing that stood between Sunrisers and a demolition. Now, that has gone as Deepak Hooda gets a superb throw in from Long-on. Chris Jordan walks in, tittering with nervous energy.

And he is dropped! Jordan slices it skywards at Extra Cover, and Sran staggers backwards, tries to cup his hands Aussie-style, and the ball pops out into the grass. Warner is sliding around in the grass, intensely desperate to win this, riding the boundary with expertis. But Baby ends the over with a giant six. 12 runs.

RCB 179/5 after 18 overs (S Binny 8 off 6 | S Baby 7 off 5 || need 30 from 12 balls)

Bhuvi bowls an entire over of yorkers. A full over. 6 balls, 6 yorkers. Although the last one was more a low full-toss, and Sachin Baby reverse-laps it for four.

RCB 172/5 after 17 overs (S Binny 7 off 2 | S Baby 2 off 3 || need 37 from 18 balls)

The Fizz.

Now, Watson (11 from 9) has let it go, as Mustafizur bowls a off-cutter on length, that the Aussie can only slice straight up and down to Extra Cover.

And Stuart Binny now, their last hope, I would think. Straightaway, he has whipped it over Long-on for a six. 10 runs off it. But the RRR is 12.33. What a steep target this is.





RCB 162/4 after 16 overs (S Watson 9 off 6 | S Baby 1 off 2 || need 47 from 24 balls)

Ben Cutting.

Oh no no. Rahul (11 from 9) chooses the worst time to bring out a brute slog-shot, swish all over it, and hear the ball crash into the stumps. Cutting doing it here for Sunrisers. They are now back in it. With the RRR creeping up with every ball, every wicket will just dilate that chasm. What a turnaround in the last couple of overs.

RCB 158/3 after 15 overs (S Watson 7 off 4 | KL Rahul 10 off 7 || need 51 from 30 balls)

Henriques back. Good changes of pace. But Watson latches on to the fifth delivery, and tonks it straight above Henriques' head for six. 9 runs off the over. And RCB now need to take care to keep the momentum going. In all the ferocity and fury gone by, it's easy to forget that the target is a massive 209. Required Run-Rate is 10.20, mate.





RCB 149/3 after 14 overs (S Watson 0 off 0 | KL Rahul 8 off 5)

Bipul stays on.

Rahul now. My goodness, this team has one devastating batsman after another. A sweetly-timed sweep shot thuds into the Square-leg fence for four.

And another strike. ABD (5 from 6) won't be giving us any more unfathomable pyrotechnics this season, as he slices an off-break off good-length high into the air and into Henriques' cupped hands. His face fell as soon as he miscued it.

RCB 141/2 after 13 overs (AB de Villiers 4 off 4 | KL Rahul 1 off 1)

Sran.

And now, it's a fifty for Kohli, with the classiest of lofted drives for six you'll ever see. Beautiful inside-out shot. No respite. There's a small matter of 1,000 runs for Kohli this IPL season. Looks good for it, I reckon.

Oh oh. Oh oh. Not so fast, Hope. Sran has his man. Kohli (54 from 35) is devastated as steps out but gets an inside-edge, and the back-of-length delivery clips his bails off. * sheds a tear for each of the 27 runs left unsmacked*.





RCB 129/1 after 12 overs (AB de Villiers 3 off 3 | V Kohli 44 off 31)

Bipul Sharma, shielded so far from Gayle, will come on with his some left-arm spin now.

Kohli rocks back and pulls him away through Midwicket for four. I repeat. Nobody. Is. Safe.

RCB 120/1 after 11 overs (AB de Villiers 0 off 0 | V Kohli 38 off 28)

Cutting in for more torture. It's almost masochism to bowl here tonight.

And straight away, a chance. A thick-edge flies off Kohli's bat, but Mustafizur can't shift his forward momentum soon enough to lay hands on that as it bobs up over him. And aha! Gayle (76 from 38) is finally cut down. Cutting has done the trick with a cutter, getting the big man to swing at it and toe-end it to Third-man.

Woof. That was pure carnage brought to a close. And a hush descends. More out of respect than anything. And then, the hush is no more, as chants of ABD fill the air. Oh, right. I forgot. RCB bat deep. Real deep.

Kohli steers it through Third-man for a four. Don't forget, he seems to be saying. I am here. Gayle was just the sideshow, a distraction. Some distraction, that was, then.





RCB 112/0 after 10 overs (C Gayle 75 off 36 | V Kohli 31 off 24)

Now, Kohli decides it's just not fair that the Fizz has the upper hand. Dances down the track and hacks a four away on the off-side. And then strikes it over Long-off for a six. Take cover, folks. No one is safe here tonight. Not even Mustafizur.

But he comes back with a bouncer, a yorker, and a cutter worth your money. Damage limited to 12 runs.

RCB 100/0 after 9 overs (C Gayle 74 off 34 | V Kohli 20 off 20)

Wait, there's a man called Kohli playing this match? I didn't even know. Well, lest we forget him, the RCB captain now carts Henriques for a lofted four over Cover. And.... then it's right back to Gayle. A sixer over Long-off. A sixer over Midwicket. A four over Cover. Humongous over. 21 runs.





RCB were saving this man up for today.

RCB 79/0 after 8 overs (C Gayle 58 off 30 | V Kohli 15 off 18)

Cutting, you don't bowl half-volleys to Chris Gayle. Well, you don't bowl anywhere to him when he's in this murderous mood, for that matter. But width and length will be dealt with outside the boundary, as Gayle pummels a straight six.

RCB 69/0 after 7 overs (C Gayle 51 off 27 | V Kohli 13 off 15)

Moises Henriques comes on and is bashed for a six over Long-on. And Gayle has raised his fifty. This is payback for him. All his defaulted payments flowing in with a vengeance. 10 runs off it.

RCB 59/0 after 6 overs (C Gayle 44 off 24 | V Kohli 10 off 12)

Mustafizur Rahman to bring some fizz back into the Sunrisers' attack. Attack? So far, the attack has ensued from the batsmen — nay, batsman, nay, batsgiant.

And straight-away, a marked difference in the way the ball is treated. All of a sudden, Kohli gets a few balls to face as Gayle is kept at the non-striker's. Then Gayle has to defend an LBW appeal with an inside-edge. A meagre 4 runs off the over. Class will come through. The Fizz has come as a speed-bump to the RCB racecar.

RCB 55/0 after 5 overs (C Gayle 43 off 22 | V Kohli 7 off 8)

Ben Cutting, the man. Can he cut the big tree down? (Everyone has been punning on Cutting's name; I had to get mine in...)

Not unless he can position RCB men outside the boundary. Short ball, Gayle flicks — yes, flicks — a sixer over the Third-man ropes. Good length, Gayle drags it to Midwicket with his barbaric swipe. I reckon he swats at the ball like he might swat at a fly.





RCB 42/0 after 4 overs (C Gayle 32 off 19 | V Kohli 5 off 5)

And now, Gayle is truly racking up his typhonic instincts. Sran is launched away over Long-on for six. He is no mad-man, though, as he tempers his shot next ball. And he waits a while for the slower delivery to come into his den, and then pounces on it, torpedoing it away for four over Midwicket. And now, a sixer over Square-leg, easy as you please. Gayle releasing all his pent-up runlessless in this innings. What is SRH going to do? Kohli is not even in the picture, having faced just the 5 deliveries so far.

RCB 26/0 after 3 overs (C Gayle 16 off 13 | V Kohli 5 off 5)

Bhuvi continues. And so does Gayle. An inside-edge races away for four through Fine-leg.

RCB 18/0 after 2 overs (C Gayle 11 off 8 | V Kohli 4 off 4)

Barinder Sran to take the new ball alongside Bhuvi. Fizz should come on soon, methinks.

Begins with a wide. And now, Gayle. Gayle has punched a sixer — if that's even possible — that goes high, gathers snow, and thuds into the Midwicket boundary-padding. 13 runs off it.

RCB 5/0 after 1 over (C Gayle 0 off 2 | V Kohli 4 off 4)

Right. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli are marching out to the middle. Gayle, as usual, looks like he's got murder on his mind. Kohli looks like he's an unreformed history-sheeter. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar takes the ball. Seat-belts on? Let's go.

Swing for Bhuvi up front. Gayle, with his famous West-Indian half-hearted leave. We won't be seeing too many more of those from the Carib tonight, I don't think. And Kohli has made his thoughts clear, flashing into a cover-drive that is edged through past the wicket-keeper for four.



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And, hold on... Let me just get my breath back. Ok, wow. Ben Cutting completely transformed the complexion of this match with that formidable 15-ball 39. If you thought David Warner was cutting loose tonight with his 38-ball 69, then you hadn't an inkling of what Cutting was about to do. Royal Challengers will be real cut up about that finish — they had Chris Jordan and Shane Watson to steer their death overs — after Sreenath Aravind had snapped up two early wickets. RCB even ended the assaults of Yuvraj Singh and Warner before they could unleash at the death. But Jordan's 3 wickets count for little as he went for 45 runs at an economy of 11.25.

In any case, this sets the stage for a classic chase led by Virat Kohli. Will Chris Gayle step up tonight? It seems like his kind of wicket. And of course, there is AB de Villiers, Lokesh Rahul, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny.... But on the other hand, they are pitting their wits against the Fizz, and the Purple-Cap-holder Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.

Get your pop-corn out, folks!

SRH 208/7 after 20 overs (B Kumar 1 off 1 | B Cutting 39 off 15)

Right. Watson again for the final over. Can Cutting cut loose here?

Oh, very very much so. And how. Begins the over by slicing a yorker out to the Cover boundary for four. And then, the most GIGANTIC hits you'll ever see; Cutting has absolutely *insert most intense verb*-ed the full-toss over and out of the park over Square-leg. That was just.... Well, numerically-speaking, it was a whopping 117 metres. Looked way larger, if you trust your eyes.





Oh no. He's not done. Cutting has smacked it flat over Midwicket for another six. And ANOTHER six to end the innings, just for good measure, over Long-off.

Phewwww. I think I need me a cutting chai to get my wits back after that onslaught.

SRH 184/7 after 19 overs (B Kumar 0 off 0 | B Cutting 16 off 10)

Jordan. Right, watch out for them yorkers, SRH.

Bipul Sharma, he can bat, right? Of course he can, and he shows how, slashing Jordan away over Point. Jordan needs to get his yorkers right, and can't afford to stray over into full-toss region. Ok, and Bipul (5 from 3) is gone, unable to get on top of that short delivery and he top-edges to Midwicket. But this is the risk with bowling at such pace, as Jordan now squirts his line down legside and Rahul can't prevent 5 wides. And now Cutting gets the full-toss through Third-man for four. Weird shot, that, like a sweep-shot-gone-wrong-yet-so-right.

16 runs. So, RCB unable to curtail the scoring rate despite picking up the wickets here.

SRH 168/6 after 18 overs (B Sharma 0 off 0 | B Cutting 10 off 7)

Watson is on again.

And another strike by RCB. Watson begins with two wides, and then bowls a great slower one to bamboozle Ben Cutting, and as the ball hits his pads and wanders down the pitch, Watson sees Ojha in the middle of pitch, ambles over to pick up the ball and slam-dunks it into the stumps to run Ojha (7 from 4) out.

But Cutting doesn't care. He launches Watson into the Midwicket stands for six like he were tossing a coin. That was a brilliant-yorker-gone-wrong, that. And then, a slower ball is slashed away over Third-man for four. Productive over, all the same, for Sunrisers. 12 runs.





SRH 156/5 after 17 overs (N Ojha 7 off 4 | B Cutting 0 off 1)

Jordan comes back for his final two. This is his time. Can he control or contain Yuvraj?

And he does, straight-away! It stops on Yuvraj (38 from 23), who sees a juicy half-volley and goes for his drive, only to mishit it into Watson's hands. Big blow, that. This could mean the difference between 200 and much less.

Naman Ojha gets a four through Third-man.

SRH 147/4 after 16 overs (N Ojha 0 off 0 | Y Singh 38 off 22)

Yuvi opens the Aravind over with a delicate late-cut for four through Third-man. Not that Aravind is bowling badly here. Short deliveries have some rip, yorkers tying the bat up and everything. And it pays off, as Hooda (3 from 6) is caught at Long-on, unable to time that slower short delivery. Kohli is blowing his famous kisses now. And Time-out now.





SRH 140/3 after 15 overs (D Hooda 2 off 3 | Y Singh 32 off 19)

Chahal has run into Yuvraj this over. And Yuvraj has rammed him over.

What hitting. Seriously. Vintage Yuvi, as he drives the full delivery through Cover and his flourishing follow-through fuels it to the boundary like a rocket. Next up, Yuvi has brought his Big Bertha driver out, and it's catapulted over Long-off for a massive six. 13 runs off that over.





SRH 127/3 after 14 overs (D Hooda 1 off 2 | Y Singh 20 off 14)

Aravind back.

And he's struck! Big fish gone. Warner (69 from 38) has been stretching all day long to put his weight into his shots, but this time the slash doesn't fly off his bat as much as skim through to Gully, where Abdulla takes him comfortably. That is sad. This was shaping up to be a monumental innings. So very sad.

SRH 120/2 after 13 overs (D Warner 65 off 36 | Y Singh 18 off 12)

Chahal bowls out a disciplined over for just 4 runs, to these two attacking batsmen. Full of googlies and darting bounce.

SRH 116/2 after 12 overs (D Warner 63 off 34 | Y Singh 16 off 8)

Jordan continues.

Yuvi unhinges his wrists to get this through Fine-leg for four. And woof, launches it into the crowd at the Square-leg boundary for a six. A bit of confusion as the batsmen wonder whether running between the wickets is the something they want to do, but Jordan throws like a girl and can't hit the stumps.

SRH 103/2 after 11 overs (D Warner 61 off 30 | M Henriques 0 off 0)

Watson back on, after that terrible first over.

He's looking to bounce his way back into the batsmen's mind here. Yuvraj pulls one, ducks another. Then a half-volley comes along, and it is creamed away for four through the Covers. Much better over from Watson. Just the 6 runs.

SRH 97/2 after 10 overs (D Warner 62 off 31 | Y Singh 5 off 5)

Chris Jordan.

Warner gives no respite, no mercy. Four off the first ball; glanced off the legs to Fine-leg. Four off the second ball; now, it's crunched away through Cover. Oh oh, Henriques (4 from 5) is gone. Overestimated Jordan's pace and top-edges his pull-shot to Midwicket.

Yuvraj Singh is in now. Right. What is he going to do tonight?

SRH 88/1 after 9 overs (D Warner 52 off 25 | M Henriques 4 off 4)

Chahal gets little turn on that, and Warner has hacked that away for a four behind Point. And he goes again, almost falling over on the ball as he flays it away for four through . And that's a fifty for Warner. Off 24 balls. What a statement.





Oops, was there an edge there, as Warner flashed at the googly? KL Rahul pouched it, but Umpire doesn't raise his finger. Snickometer shows Warner has got a life.

SRH 75/1 after 8 overs (D Warner 41 off 20 | M Henriques 3 off 3)

Iqbal Abdulla comes on now.

For Warner, though, it matters not who bowls. He will bash the slow-bowler over Long-on for six all day, any day. 10 runs off the over.

SRH 65/1 after 7 overs (D Warner 33 off 16 | M Henriques 1 off 1)

Yuzvendra Chahal is brought on after Powerplay.

And Dhawan (28 from 25) has given it away. Goes for a sweep to a googly, and top-edges it to Deep Square-leg. Yawn. So predictable.





Henriques is in at one-down.

SRH 59/0 after 6 overs (D Warner 31 off 14 | S Dhawan 25 off 22)

Gayle is going to be bowled out here, looks like.

Dhawan looks to sweep, and gets it fine through Fine-leg for four. Whoa, whoa, Warner. Slow down, mate. A bit of width, and tossed up, and Warner hoicks it flat over Midwicket for six. Is this man in some form or what!

End of the Powerplay. But will that matter to a man for whom boundaries are only in the mind?

SRH 46/0 after 5 overs (D Warner 24 off 12 | S Dhawan 20 off 18)

Shane Watson is on now.

And what a welcome Warner has given his fellow Aussie. Angling away from the leftie, who opens his arms and slices it away for a stupendous six over Extra Cover. And now Dhawan is trying to match Warner, and he's launched Watson for a six too, over Midwicket. No respite for Watson, as Warner slashes him away over Third-man for a four. Momentum is with SRH now. 19 runs off that over. Useful over, I'd say, given what's waiting for them on the other side of this innings.

SRH 27/0 after 4 overs (D Warner 12 off 8 | S Dhawan 13 off 16)

Oh, Gayle is going to continue. Kohli trusts him, but can the earth take any more crushing blows?

Dhawan is trying to get his back now as he lofts the big man straight over his head for a four.

SRH 21/0 after 3 overs (D Warner 11 off 7 | S Dhawan 8 off 11)

Aravind continues. Warner is in cracking form today, carrying on from right where he left off in the last game. He's absoutely smashed it through the Covers for four off the back-foot. And again, this time he's pulled it through Midwicket for four. Man, this guy means business tonight.

SRH 12/0 after 2 overs (D Warner 3 off 5 | S Dhawan 7 off 7)

Chris Gayle to take the second over. Interesting choice from Virat Kohli. Is this going to be a one-off thing or does he have plans with Gayle?

And this is the second time Gayle has flung himself in the air to catch a ball. Dhawan tries to flick it onto the onside, gets a leading edge, and Gayle dives to his left but has grassed it. Earthquake alert.

SRH 7/0 after 1 over (D Warner 2 off 3 | S Dhawan 5 off 3)

Sreenath Aravind to take the new ball.

David Warner flashes at that, but manages to not get any bat on it. Now Shikhar Dhawan has tried his best to edge one behind, trying to run it cutely to Third-man. But if you stray on his pads, he will tickle you away for four through Fine-leg all day.

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David Warner has won the toss, and Sunrisers Hyderabad will bat first. Sounds about right. Warner is aggressive enough to want to stick to his strengths even if that means enabling Virat Kohli do his favourite thing and chase in this deciding clash.

There was rain in the Chinnaswamy stadium last evening. Skies are clear but there is still a slight chance of rain. There is a reserve day, Monday, for the final to be played though, in case the worst happens.

Royal Challengers Bangalore are sticking with the same side...

CH Gayle, V Kohli*, AB de Villiers, KL Rahul†, SR Watson, Sachin Baby, STR Binny, Iqbal Abdulla, CJ Jordan, S Aravind, YS Chahal

And great news for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have got their Fizz back, and Trent Boult will have to make way for no incompetence of his...

DA Warner*, S Dhawan, MC Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, DJ Hooda, BCJ Cutting, NV Ojha†, Bipul Sharma, B Kumar, BB Sran, Mustafizur Rahman

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At the halfway stage of the competition, RCB was second from bottom on the table, having lost five of seven games. A spot in the play-offs seemed beyond reach. Yet three weeks later, Virat Kohli’s men became the first team to enter the final, having put together a run of seven wins in eight matches.





A rejuvenated Bhuvneshwar Kumar, custodian of the IPL’s Purple Cap (23 wickets), and Mustafizur Rahman have been instrumental in Sunrisers’ progress to the final. The Bangladesh bowler missed the Qualifier victory over Gujarat Lions with what Warner described as a ‘slight’ hamstring injury; should he not feature in the final, it will represent a major blow. A great deal depends on Warner, but Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh have made useful contributions too.





RCB has the advantage of playing at home and has now had four days to recover from its exertions in the Qualifier. In contrast, the final will be Sunrisers’ third game in the space of five days. But in David Warner, the team has a determined leader in raging form.

>Read Shreedutta Chidananda’s match preview in more detail.

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Hello and welcome to the Final of the Indian Premier League 2016, in which Royal Challengers Bangalore are clashing with Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bengaluru. Whoever makes it to the summit, the IPL trophy will have gone to a new home by the end of the match.


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