'We knew we had to get 200' - Warner
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner has said scoring over 200 was the key in the IPL final against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Warner had opted to bat in Bangalore and helped his team put up 208 for 7 with his ninth half-century of the tournament, which they won for the first time in their fourth season.
"We knew we had to get 200 against these guys, they have a phenomenal batting line-up," Warner said. "We knew we had to win three games to win this tournament. To come here and beat Bangalore in front of this crowd, we were true underdogs. But we executed our skills, we batted well, bowled well, and fielded well. For us, the key was team effort all the way. [Time to put my feet up] for 24 hours and then I'm off to the Caribbean. But the guys will well and truly celebrate this and it's time to have a beer.
"[It's a] fantastic team achievement and for me personally it's overwhelming. To lead this side and the support these players gave me to lead by example and me pulling my weight with the runs…Obviously all the other guys doing their job. But look, it's been fantastic, it's been a hard journey for the last two years. From my experience as captain, the credit goes to all the guys.
"You need to get a lot of individual players to step up, players need to gel together and get the combinations right. For us the key was to try and emulate with our fielding, that part towards the end here."
Warner did not hesitate to praise the efforts and form of his counterpart, Virat Kohli, who scored 54 off 35 and was part of a rapid opening stand of 114 in 10.3 overs with Chris Gayle, before quick wickets dented Royal Challengers' chase and they never recovered.
"What a leader, Virat Kohli," Warner said. "I can't take it away from him. He set the benchmark for all batsmen this tournament and they are a fantastic team."
Kohli, on the other hand, was aggrieved after the eight-run loss and even though he ended as the tournament's highest run-scorer, a half-century in the final was not enough.
"We are really proud of the way we played as a team," Kohli said. "I mentioned before the finals this was for the people of Bangalore. We wanted to do it for them because of the continuous support we have had. Even when we had the worst of seasons, they have come out to support us. I feel gutted that we were not able to cross the line for them. All the guys have been wanting to cross the line, we reached the finals twice and once in Champions League as well.
"We were walking around thanking the crowd and Dan [Daniel Vettori] mentioned to me, 'we got 200 and we lost.' So that felt a bit weird that we were short by eight runs. We knew one big partnership would set the tone for us but me and AB [de Villiers] getting out quickly was a big blow. I knew I had things under control and we could achieved the target had I stayed with AB a little longer. They got a bit of luck and then they capitalized, that's why they are the champion side.
"Why Sunrisers won was because they have a strong bowling attack. I knew I was hitting the ball well and I just wanted to keep contributing. If you try to do things for your team, you end up doing special things along the way. That's a lesson for me as a batsman and everyone around the world. I surprised myself there [with four hundreds in the tournament] little bit, to be honest. I opened the innings as well, we have to consider that someone batting at No. 3 or 4 will not be able to get as many runs so I don't take these things for granted.
"It (orange cap) is a nice incentive with the way we have gone about this season but it doesn't feel really nice to be at the other side of the result. As a personal achievement this is very special knowing that we have eight teams with world-class batsmen. It feels nice to have scored more than anyone else more importantly so that we reached the finals and it gives me more pleasure than it would have otherwise."
Bhuvneshwar Kumar played a crucial role once again in the end overs and bowled accurate yorkers, which he said are the key in T20s to stem the flow of runs. "I just had to keep myself composed in the end," he said. "I knew if I would get it right, they wouldn't be able to score runs. That's the demand of this game…If you get the yorkers right it's the best way to stop the runs in the death overs. Warner just said to keep my yorkers right, he asked me to keep myself composed."
Shikhar Dhawan, Warner's opening partner admitted that even though their batting order didn't fire at the beginning of the tournament, the side gained more balance once they started posting better totals. "It has been a great season for me and the team," he said. "Davey led from the front from the first game and hats off to him. It has been a great journey. I feel our team is balanced. Initially we didn't click as a batting unit then as the tournament went ahead, we started putting more runs on the board. The way [Ben] Cutting has got into the side and he played just two or three matches, but has performed really well."