All-star of the match

In the inaugural IPL season in 2008, Shane Watson scooped the Player-of-the-tournament award after leading Rajasthan Royals to the title. Ten seasons later, Watson showed he still had it, leading Chennai Super Kings to the title again, with a Player-of-the-Match performance in the final.

His first ten balls read: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0. He could barely run between the wickets and after the game his team-mate Dwayne Bravo said that he was suffering from a hamstring strain. Watson, however, turbo-charged his way to 117 off his next 47 balls to single-handedly marshal CSK's chase of 179.

The first ball Watson faced burst from a length and hooped away past the outside edge. Bhuvneshwar continued to turn the opener inside and then out by swinging the ball both ways. After somehow surviving that spell, Watson launched an unfettered assault on the rest of the pace attack that enabled CSK to simply see off Sunrisers' strike bowler Rashid Khan. The hip-high balls from Siddarth Kaul were swatted away to the leg-side boundaries while the half-volleys from Sandeep Sharma were belted down the ground. Watson moved to a fifty off 33 balls when he dropped down to one knee and slog-swept Shakib into oblivion.

Watson, though, hit his peak when he smeared Sandeep for five boundaries off five legal balls in a 27-run, 13th over. By then, CSK needed just 48 off 42 balls. Rashid still had two overs left, but Watson sensibly played him out. He raised his hundred off 51 balls (effectively 41 balls) when he tapped Rashid to cover with soft hands and hobbled across for the single. For a violent innings, the celebrations were remarkably understated: Watson removed his helmet and just heaved a sigh of relief. After shepherding CSK to their third IPL crown, he had his team-mates mobbing him and making a mess of his hair like he had done to Glenn McGrath back in the day with Australia.

The wow moment

The brace of million-dollar drives towards the finish. When Kaul bowled a seam-up ball on middle at 140ks, Watson stepped away outside leg and left Kaul's head in the firing line. Instinctively, Kaul rocked his head out of the way and watched a rocket fly to the straight boundary. The next ball was a slower knuckle ball outside off, and Watson delayed his drive to crunch it past the bowler again.

The numbers

  • Watson's 117 not out off 57 balls was the highest score in an IPL final.

  • Watson is the fourth player, after Chris Gayle (2011), Virat Kohli (2016) and Hashim Amla (2017) to hit more than one hundred in an IPL season.

What they said

"Watson's innings was special. We thought we had a competitive total. It needed something special, and Watson turned up tonight."
Tom Moody, the Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, sums up Watson's innings.

"Towards the back end of the tournament I was hanging on for dear life. So I'm glad I was able to contribute like I did tonight."
Thirty-six-year-old Watson on how he pulled through