Shane Watson hogged the limelight as he brought up his fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) ton and second this season in 51 balls during the final between Chennai Super Kings and SunRisers Hyderabad in Mumbai on Sunday. Watson dominated the SRH bowlers, smashing them to all parts of the ground. He hit 11 fours and eight sixes during his unbeaten knock of 117 off 57 deliveries. Watson was looking at his menacing best and Suresh Raina was giving him good support. After his fellow opener Faf du Plessis' departure in the fourth over, the partnership between Watson and Raina grew from strength to strength as the duo brought up a 117-run partnership that was instrumental in CSK securing their third IPL title. Owning to his whirlwind ton at the Wankhede, the 36-year-old became the second player after Wriddhiman Saha to score a century in an IPL final. Saha, playing for Kings XI Punjab, had achieved the feat against Kolkata Knight Riders in the final in 2014.
Chennai finished on 181-2 to crush their opponents by eight wickets. They have now equalled the Mumbai Indians in winning the world's wealthiest cricket tournament for the third time since it started in 2008.
"It's been a special season to be honest. To get a special season especially after the last season with RCB. It means a lot to be with a franchise like CSK. After those first ten balls I was only hoping to catch up to at least a run-a-ball. Bhuvi is really good with the new ball and was lucky to get the opportunity to catch up. It was good that I got a couple of boundaries to hit and get on par to take it from there. The good thing is that I wouldn't be playing for the next three-four months; feels great. It gives me plenty of time to recover. Throughout the back end of the tournament I was hanging on for dear life, Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni have been looking after me really well and I am really glad to contribute like I did tonight", Watson said after winning the Man of the Match award.
Watson has proved his credentials as a cricketer and time and again by coming to the aid of his franchises and for his country. He had a terrible IPL season 10 with Royal Challengers Bangalore which by his own admission was the "worst-ever" and he needed a knock like this to make a statement.
The two-time Player of the Tournament now has four IPL tons along with Virat Kohli. Chris Gayle leads the list with six scores of 100 or more. Brendon McCullum, Hashim Amla, Murali Vijay, Adam Gilchrist and Virender Sehwag have two each.
Watson has a phenomenal IPL record, where he has scored over 3100 runs in 117 matches at an average of over 31 and has picked up 92 wickets at 29.15 with one four-wicket haul.