In a match fitting of a tournament final, Sunrisers Hyderabad defeated Royal Challengers by eight runs to be crowned champions of VIVO IPL 2016.

After setting the home side a target of 209, Sunrisers Hyderabad believed in themselves – this despite Chris Gayle helping RCB to a sensational start. And when the opportunity presented itself, SRH took control and slammed the door on their opponents, restricting them to 200-7, and came up triumphant.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, after winning the toss and opting to bat first, rode on blitzes from captain David Warner and Ben Cutting to post their highest ever total to date. Warner took the RCB bowlers to the cleaners in the first half of the innings, while Cutting put the home team bowlers to the sword at the back end.

Warner didn’t get too much strike in the first couple of overs. He teed off in the third over when he picked up consecutive boundaries off Sreenath Arvind – one through cover and the next one through midwicket. In the fifth over, he got stuck into compatriot Shane Watson, hitting him for a six over cover and a four through point.

SRH added 19 in the fifth over and a further 13 in the sixth over to finish the Powerplay period on a high. Warner signed off that period of play by hitting the last ball of the sixth over for a six over long-on; SRH were 59-0 at that point. Though Warner lost the company of his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (28 from 25 balls) in the following over, he stuck to his methods and continued to punish the RCB bowlers; he deposited an Iqbal Abdullah delivery over long on in the eighth over, and carted Yuzvendra Chahal for two boundaries in the ninth over to bring up his half-century.

In the fourteenth over, against the run of play, Warner was dismissed; he threw his bat at a wide delivery from Arvind, but didn’t get enough body behind the shot and ended up offering Abdullah a simple catch at short thirdman. The SRH captain, who had earlier equalled the record for the fastest half-century in an IPL Final – was dismissed for 69, made from 38 balls and decorated with eight fours and three sixes.

Yuvraj (38 from 23 balls) collected four boundaries and two sixes with some clean hitting; however, he too was dismissed in the seventeenth over when he tamely drove the cover.

Ben Cutting applied the finishing touches and helped his team finish with a flourish; he scored 39 from 15 balls, studded with three boundaries and four sixes. He was especially severe on Watson who came on to bowl the final over of the innings; he carved away the first ball of the final over through cover, hit the second delivery out of the stadium and then put away the third ball for a six over midwicket. He signed off in style too, hitting the final ball of the innings into the stands at long-off. SRH scored 12, 16 and 24 in the final three overs to finish at – 208-7 – their highest total posted in IPL Finals.

The opening partnership of 63 was the biggest of the innings, while Cutting and Bipul Sharma added 34 in the final 1.2 overs.

For RCB, Chris Jordan, despite not being at his best, was the most successful bowler; he returned with figures of 4-0-45-3.The left-arm quick Arvind was impressive and returned with figures of 4-0-30-2. The leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the only other wicket-taker. The experienced Shane Watson had a forgettable outing, conceding 61 runs in his four overs. Though their catching was good, RCB were rusty in the field; they conceded 11 runs through wides and also gave away a few runs on the field by means of misfields or unnecessary overthrows.

RCB’s chase was a part of two halves. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli laid the perfect platform for a humongous chase by adding 114 runs in 10.3 overs. Such was Gayle’s dominance in the partnership that even an in-form Kohli was consigned to being a spectator. Gayle was magnificent on the night; he hit three boundaries and drilled five sixes and raced to a 25-ball half-century. He continued his big-hitting and carried on to 76 – his highest score of the season – before he became Ben Cutting’s first victim. The Jamaican attempted to heave across the line, but the ball came of the toe of the bat and carried to deep thirdman where Bipul Sharma held on to a sharp catch. The left-hander took a special liking for Barinder Sran, Cutting and Moises Henriques, against whom he scored at a strike-rate in excess of 200.

Kohli, who had only contributed 32 runs in the 114-run opening stand, accelerated after Gayle’s dismissal and brought up his half-century in the 13th over; he got to the milestone in style when he smashed Sran for a six over wide long off. Three balls later though, he dragged the ball back onto his stumps. Kohli, dismissed for 54 – made from 35 balls and decorated with five boundaries and two sixes, became the highest run-getter in the IPL during the course of his innings.

A series of dismissals thereafter – which included the wickets of AB de Villiers, KL Rahul and Shane Watson – derailed all the good work done by the opening pair. RCB finished their twenty overs at 200-7. To put things in perspective, RCB were 7 runs ahead of where SRH were after 19 overs; where SRH had added 24 runs in the final over, RCB only managed to score 9 and eventually fell short by ten runs.

For Sunrisers Hyderabad, Cutting picked up two wickets – including that of the dangerous Chris Gayle – to cap of a wonderful evening. Sran, Mustafizur Rahman and Bipul Sharma all chipped in with a wicket each.

Sunrisers Hyderabad 208-7 in 20.0 Overs (David Warner 69, Yuvraj Singh 38, Ben Cutting 39*, Sreenath Arvind 2-30, Chris Jordan 3-45)

Royal Challengers Bangalore 200-7 in 20.0 Overs (Chris Gayle 76, Virat Kohli 54, Ben Cutting 2-35) by 8 runs.

Man of the Match: Ben cutting for his 39* off 15 ball & 35/2