Vettori credits Warner for 'brave' decision at toss
Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Daniel Vettori said David Warner's decision to bat upon winning the toss at M Chinnaswamy Stadium was a "brave" one considering the history of chasing teams winning at the venue. He also praised Sunrisers Hyderabad's bowling strength as the key to their becoming IPL champions.
Warner has said in previous press conferences that he liked putting a score on the board in knockout scenarios. But Vettori felt that call may have been made as a result of the last pitch that was used in Bangalore, which was so slow and grippy that 158 could have been defended.
"We were [surprised by the toss]," Vettori said. "I'm sure they looked at the conditions from the last game and expected something similar. There was no dew and it was probably a little bit slower, the wicket against Gujarat [Lions]. You could see the bowlers were able to exploit that a little bit, particularly early on in both teams' innings whereas this pitch was probably drier and like I said the dew later on made it an even better wicket. So it was a really brave decision, but obviously one that paid off for them in the end."
At the halfway mark on Sunday, with 209 to chase, and a bit of dew gathering on the outfield, the chasing team seemed to have the upper hand. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli smashed half-centuries to knock off more than half the target without the loss of a single wicket. Sunrisers were searching for answers and Royal Challengers had gained belief.
"We've proved over the course of the tournament that we can score those sorts of runs here at Chinnaswamy," Vettori said. "It's a ground that's good for chasing. The wicket is very good, there was probably a little bit of dew that came on and that start that we got off to allowed us to have some confidence of being able to do that."
But between the 10th and the 15th overs, Sunrisers dismissed Gayle, Kohli and AB de Villiers to regain hold of the match.
"In any IPL game, there's critical moments and in any IPL team there are some really good players. Just when we required a couple of guys to kick on, we weren't able to get that momentum that Chris and Virat established for us," Vettori said. "I think Sunrisers grabbed those opportunities and got wickets at crucial times but we obviously believed we could go on the whole way but we weren't able to finish it off."
That Royal Challengers were unable to do so was because Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman rammed in pinpoint yorkers and confused batsmen with masterful cutters. It also helped that Ben Cutting's cameo, when he struck four sixes and three fours in an unbeaten 15-ball 39, had pushed the target above 200.
"We recognised that the main reason Sunrisers were in the final was how well they bowled, particularly at the back end," Vettori said, "And Mustafizur again proved how valuable he is and Ben Cutting along with his batting, which was probably decisive, if you look at the overall scheme of things, got some crucial wickets to put us on the back foot, so Sunrisers were one of the best teams through the round-robin [stages] and they proved today why they're champions."
When asked about how his own team was faring, Vettori said, "Obviously the mood is very down at the moment. At some stage we will reflect on the tournament and obviously be proud of a lot of things that we did to come from near the bottom to qualifying for the final, but I suppose the reflection around the actual performance is difficult to worry about this moment because there is nothing to plan for. It's just the mood in the camp is pretty disappointed, but like I said, there's a number of things to be happy with."
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo