SRH captain Williamson praises Watson, Rashid.

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Johnson Cherian.
Shane Watson single-handedly guided Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL title with his unbeaten knock of 117 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the summit clash and losing captain Kane Williamson was left to admire the burly Australian’s “unbelievable” innings.
The 36-year-old Watson smashed 11 fours and eight sixes en route to this second hundred of the season as CSK chased down the target of 179 in 18.3 overs here last night.
“Yes, I think so, that was a brilliant innings. Anyone who turns out with an innings of 100-plus in the final was obviously a significant effort, a great contribution to their side and it was very difficult to stop him,” Williamson said after his side suffered an 8-wicket loss.
“And for a large part of the game, there was a lot of good stuff. But as I mentioned Watson’s innings, it was an unbelievable effort,” the Sunrisers captain said.
Williamson insisted that his side’s score of 178 for 6 while batting first was a competitive total and credited CSK for sailing through the initial, difficult phase when they were 20 for 1 after five overs before Watson commenced his blitzkrieg.
“At the halfway stage on that surface, we thought we had a very competitive total. It wasn’t perhaps your usual surface at the Wankhede (Stadium). It held a little bit and was responsive to the slower ball. So we thought that 180-mark was a really good target and you saw that from our first few overs, and it was not very easy to get away,” Williamson said.
“Credit to the way CSK played, they showed their experience and got through that period and took the game away from us. You have to applaud good cricket and that was CSK and their batting. They were outstanding and did not give us opportunities,” said the New Zealand captain who had the consolation of emerging as the highest run- getter in this edition of the IPL.
He said throughout the season SRH were able to pick up wickets in the middle overs but that did not happen in the final match against CSK last night.
“After the first few overs (of CSK run chase), the run-rate was climbing, there were risks required. But from that point onwards it was that innings of Shane Watson. If we were able to pick up a couple of wickets, which we have been doing throughout the season, then all of a sudden it takes a very different shape,” said Williamson when asked whether his side was 25-30 runs short.
“There were moments of pressure where the game can change very quickly and if you are able to pounce on those — that’s when you take your opportunity. And today you have to credit the way CSK were able to handle those moments of pressure and carry on with their batting performance,” he signed off.
Praise for Rashid
Rashid Khan is right up there with the top spinners in world cricket, his captain Williamson said eulogising the Afghanistan’s teen sensation, who is bracing up for the challenge of Test cricket after an extremely successful IPL stint.
With 21 wickets in 17 matches at an average of 21.8, the 19-year-old emerged as the second-highest wicket-taker behind Australia’s Andrew Tye (24) in the just-concluded IPL.
The leg-spinner is set to feature in Afghanistan’s historic Test debut against hosts India in Bengaluru next month.
“He’s a world-class player. We have seen that in this format but it’s great that he’s going to play some Test cricket. It is a challenge for anyone but an enjoyable challenge because he’s up there with the top spinners in the game,” Williamson said after his side lost IPL title clash to Chennai Super Kings.
Williamson is looking forward to bat against Rashid in international cricket and termed the leg-break bowler a complete package.
“It’s always a pleasure to face him at the nets and against him as well in the near future. A very very good bowler but like you said, if the wicket’s responding, like any spinner that offers him a bit more. But, fantastic bowler. The full package Rashid is, it is great to have him in the side and he had a brilliant year,” Williamson signed off.

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