What a shocking turnaround tonight by Sunrisers Hyderabad, to win by 8 runs after Chris Gayle unleashed months-worth of pent-up fury to give Royal Challengers Bangalore an unreal start with a 38-ball 76. Gayle and his captain Virat Kohli shared a 114-run opening partnership, and you'd have thought — I certainly did — that the game was done and dusted. Or at any rate, RCB's to lose.
But Ben Cutting, who had a night he will tell his great-grandkids about, with the bat (a game-snatching cameo of 39 off 15 balls) and the ball (2 for 35), cut into the RCB juggernaut with Gayle's wicket. Then the decline that followed was almost insidious, as Kohli played on, AB de Villiers holed out, KL Rahul had his stumps scissored, and Shane Watson played a shot he could look most aggrieved about. And thanks to the drastic turnarounds engineered by Cutting — in both innings — Sunrisers were able to put one over RCB — led by a driven Kohli — in their own den.
In the end, a team that revels in chasing down any total with the swashbucklers in its batting line-up was unable to match up to the towering target of 209 — an intimidating edifice — set up by the Sunrisers, courtesy an outrageously in-form David Warner, a flourishing Yuvraj Singh and a cutting cameo that sprouted 52 unassailable runs in the final 3 overs.
In case I haven't been clear today, Ben Cutting was my Man of the Match. And so he is, for the adjudicators too. He actually gives the Chinnaswamy stadium credit for the sixes he hit. Twisted logic, but it's the modesty that counts.
And a pretty sad end of the road for RCB. They won 7 of 8 matches going into this Final game. And now their record stands at 7 wins out of 9 games. Which is still pretty awesome, although it was the clincher that they ended up relinquishing.