Watson has been a star performer: Stephen Fleming

New Delhi: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Head coach Stephen Fleming on Sunday heaped praises on Shane Watson for his power-packed performance, as the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title, defeating the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by eight wickets, here at the Wankhede Stadium.

“The opening spell, I thought was outstanding from the Sunrisers, so it was a real battle in the first four-five overs. But once Shane found a little bit of range, bit of rhythm, the boundaries aren’t that big for power hitters like Watson, Brathwaite and Dhoni. He [Watson] kept patience, didn’t give it away, he knew that his power game would get him out of trouble and it did in a spectacular fashion. He has been a star performer for us,” Fleming told reporters in the post-match conference.

Shane Watson helped the CSK chase down the 179-run target in 18.3 overs. He hit eight sixes and seven fours to reach the triple figure mark. His 117 is also the highest score ever made in an IPL final.

Calling it as one of his greatest performances, Fleming also said that it is extremely difficult to get Watson out, once he gets going.

“Sometimes when you look at his season with Royal Challengers Bangalore, he was in and out. And he also batted at four. So, I look at that, just around where I think the skill-sets of players are made. I have also watched him closely during the Big Bash, and there were signs there that he was in good form. Certainly every team that I have come up against, he seems to be in good form, so the only way to get rid of him is to bump by him. I had no doubt that he was going to make an impact. Fitness was an issue, it is a long tournament. But he is more professional than even I thought. He has got through with one of his greatest performances,” Fleming added.

The head coach also added that the Chennai team had a plan to tackle Afghani bowler Rashid Khan and he is glad that the team stuck to it.

“We had a different plan for Rashid Khan. I guess we played him quite well by the last outing. We have been more positive in the past because we have had to set scores. We could afford the luxury today because of Shane’s hitting. We had nullified his impact [Khan] and that was a key focus for our tactics to win the final. We did that well,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar also praised Watson for a ‘special knock’.

“Well done, @ChennaiIPL. A great display of quality cricket. Certainly the most consistent side of the tournament. A special knock from @ShaneRWatson33 in a crucial game which saw them through. #CSKvSRH #IPL2018Final,” he wrote on Twitter.

Today’s match was the fourth time the CSK beat the SRH in four meetings this season.

Meanwhile, Chennai, after six years won the coveted title.