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Alternative Universe

Shane Watson wins the 2019 IPL for Chennai Super Kings

And replaces two legends to become Chennai's favourite hero

Deivarayan Muthu
Quinton de Kock flicks the ball on to the stumps to find Shane Watson short, Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2019 final, Hyderabad, May 12, 2019

No knee-d to worry, Watto will finish it  •  Getty Images

This time in Alternative Universe, a series in which our writers let their imagination change the game: our CSK-loving reporter goes a little bonkers
The moment
The IPL title is on the line. Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians. Shane Watson v Lasith Malinga. Super Kings need five off three balls. Watson, who has batted on despite a bloody knee, stabs a yorker to deep point. Krunal Pandya swoops down on the ball and rifles an accurate throw to Quinton de Kock, who gathers it and catches Watson short on the second despite a full-length dive. Shardul Thakur swipes a couple off the next ball, but Malinga seals the title for Mumbai with a trademark dipping yorker that torpedoes into Thakur's pads.
The tweak
Imagine if Watson had defied his knee and made it to the safety of his crease for the second run? Yes, 37-year-old Watson running harder and putting in a sprawling dive to beat the fast hands of both Krunal and de Kock. More blood gushes out of his knee, but Watson wills himself to get back on his feet and resumes his heroic innings. It's down to three off two balls.
What happened next
Malinga comes from round the wicket again and nails the yorker, which Watson just about digs back to the bowler. No run. Malinga aims for another yorker but this comes out as a low full-toss. It's still a hard-to-hit low full-toss, but Watson bends his hurt knee and monsters a slog-sweep for six.
Dhoniiii Wattooo finishes off in style and CSK are four-time IPL champions. Dhoni and Suresh Raina carry the injured Watson back into the dugout. Watson is then named Man of the IPL final for a second successive season and becomes Super Kings' new thala, taking over the captaincy from Dhoni, who slowly fades away.
Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Dwayne Bravo have all got gigs in Tamil movies previously, having been part of Super Kings, but it is Watson who bags the ultimate deal - signing on for Rajinikanth's next movie (as the hero with Rajni as his sidekick, natch) and becomes a demigod.
For more Alternative Universes, click here.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo