BANGALORE • David Warner led Sunrisers Hyderabad to a maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title on Sunday after the bowlers derailed Royal Challengers Bangalore's chase to fashion an eight-run victory.
Warner (69) led from the front, top-scoring for his side to steer Hyderabad to 208-7 after opting to bat at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The Australian then returned to marshal his bowlers, who staged a stunning comeback after Chris Gayle (76) and Virat Kohli (54) had threatened to take the game away.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the highest wicket-taker in this year's competition, conceded only nine runs in the final over to dash Bangalore's hopes of being third time lucky in the final of the Twenty20 competition.
Warner and Shikhar Dhawan (28) added 63 runs to give Hyderabad a decent start. They lost Moises Henriques cheaply but Warner and Yuvraj Singh (38) consolidated the innings. Warner fell in the 14th over and Yuvraj in the 17th but Ben Cutting's 15-ball blitz ensured they had enough on the board for their bowlers.
Cutting (39 not out) smacked his fellow Australian Shane Watson for three sixes in the final over of the innings as Hyderabad plundered 52 runs off the last three overs to top 200.
Watson endured a terrible outing with the ball, conceding 61 runs in his four wicketless overs. The target was difficult but not beyond a Bangalore team with a top order that would send shivers down the spine of any team in the world.
Gayle looked ominous, too, as he smacked eight sixes in his two-runs-a-ball blitz, dominating his 114-run opening partnership with Kohli.
The match seemed to be slipping away when Cutting (2-35), whose all-round display earned him the man-of-the-match award, dismissed Gayle to bring much-needed relief to Hyderabad.
The captain Kohli's form, however, meant Bangalore were still very much in the contest. Four of the seven centuries in this year's IPL had come from Kohli's bat and the tournament's top scorer needed only 32 balls to race to his fifty.
Barinder Sran bowled the Indian Test captain to bring Hyderabad back into the match and Bipul Sharma dismissed the talismanic AB de Villiers (five) cheaply to choke Bangalore, who fell short at 200-7 in their 20 overs.
"Fantastic team achievement. To lead this side and the support from the players, me pulling my weight with the runs, it has been a hard journey. It's a team effort," a delighted Warner said after the triumph.
Kohli, on the other hand, paid tribute to the fans following the loss.
"We are proud of the way we played as a team. This was for the people of Bangalore. Even when we had the worst seasons, they were there for us," he said.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE