BANGALORE: Captain David Warner hailed Sun risers Hyderabad for staying cool in the heat of an Indian Premier League final to claim their maiden title at the home of opponents Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Hyderabad, defending 208 to win at M. Chinnaswamy stadium, survived a deadly opening blitz from big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle to eke out an eight-run victory late on Sunday.
Australian Warner led by example after winning the toss and electing to bat, hitting a sparkling half-century — his ninth of the IPL season — as Hyderabad posted a massive 208.
But Gayle came out with all guns blazing, hitting four fours and eight sixes in a 38-ball 76. He put together a 114-run opening stand with Virat Kohli (54) to give Bangalore hope, but Hyderabad’s bowlers stayed focused.
“A guy like Chris Gayle, he is always going to keep going. The hardest thing is to try and maintain our composure while he is going and playing like this,” Warner told reporters.”
“So for us it was about staying composed and having belief and that’s what the players showed when we were out there,” he added.
Hyderabad got the breakthrough they needed in the 11th over when Gayle was caught by Bipul Sharma off Ben Cutting.
Kohli, who topped the season’s batting chart with 973 runs from 16 matches, then tried to pilot the chase but was cleaned up by Barinder Sran.
South African batsman AB de Villiers also departed soon after and the wheels started to come off for Bangalore in the face of a resilient Hyderabad attack, with man-of-the-match Cutting finishing with 2-35.
Earlier Warner’s 38-ball 69, which was laced with eight fours and three sixes, laid a solid foundation for Hyderabad before Cutting swelled the total with an unbeaten 39 off 15 balls.
The left-handed Warner, who accumulated 848 runs in 17 matches, was the driving force behind Hyderabad’s title-winning season but he singled out a number of his team-mates for praise.
“It takes a team to win a tournament,” he said. “The plus that I had was I had two international captains (Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan) with me.
“I would also credit Bhuvneshwar Kumar and rising Bangladesh star Mustafizur Rahman for their contributions,” the skipper added.
Kumar finished as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 23, while Rahman grabbed 17.
Bangalore coach Daniel Vettori heaped praise on Indian star Kohli, who re-wrote the record books this IPL season but still ended up on the losing side.
Kohli surpassed Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina to become the all-time leading scorer in the cash-rich league.
He also recorded the highest partnership (229) in Twenty20 cricket history with De Villiers against Gujarat.
“He has been phenomenal and probably the main reason why we were in the final,” former New Zealand skipper Vettori told reporters.
“If a guy particularly top of the order takes that much of role and his performance is that great, it allows everything to flow from there.
“That’s what a great captain does and Virat has been exceptional,” Vettori added. –AFP