Bangalore: In a tournament that has seen captains winning the toss and opt to chase at least 80 per cent of the time, David Warner chose as big an occasion as a final to be different.
SRH skipper David Warner celebrates his half-century against RCB in the IPL final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore yesterday. Pic/PTI
It didn't matter either that his opposite number, Virat Kolhi, had built up a reputation of being one of the foremost chasers in the modern game. Warner knew where his team's strengths lay and simply went by that. It was not runs on the board in a high-pressure that helped him make up his mind, rather it was the firm knowledge that the bowling was his side's mainstay.
Of course, he didn't quite stop with winning the toss and making that big call. Starting the game with 779 runs against his name, 140 runs short of Kohli's 919, Warner turned it on at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in front of a packed, boisterous crowd, which to its credit, was not too partisan.
Watson, the target
His is a power game and that aspect was in full display on Sunday night. Fellow Aussie Shane Watson may have played alongside Warner for a long time but it was him that Warner chose to slam his first six, the ball sailing over the extra cover fence.
It was Watson's first delivery and that shot inspired Warner's opening partner Shikhar Dhawan to launch one of his own just two balls later. The Warner effect though was best exemplified by that man Kohli again. Having moved to 69 from a 38-ball stint, Warner holed out to point off left-arm seamer Sreenath Arvind, sending the crowd into raptures but Kolhi wasn't celebrating. Instead, with a deep breath, he made very, very apparent his immense sense of relief at having got rid of Warner.
Similarities with Kohli
Only on Saturday, Kolhi had talked at length on Warner and the similarities they both share. "As a captain or leader, you try to execute things what you ask from your teammates first on the field. Yeah, we (Warner and I) do think on similar lines.
"Yes, there's similarity in approaching the game. Whether it's him wanting to contribute for the team's cause and getting people together and wanting them to be their best and giving their all for the team," Kohli had said. He didn't have to add that both also wear their expressions on their sleeves.
Number of balls taken by David Warner for his fifty — the joint fastest fifty in an IPL final. Suresh Raina also took 24 balls in the 2010 IPL final.