Figuring the opponent’s a weak spot and hit them just there is the mark of a great side and that is precisely what Mumbai Indians did to Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, making a massive impact with their Powerplay bowling.
The heavyweights locked horns in Qualifier 1 at the MA Chidamabaram Stadium with Mumbai extending their record to 3-0 against the Chennai side this year. The six-wicket victory also meant that CSK hasn’t got the better of Mumbai in the last five occasions.
But it all boiled down to CSK, having dropped the least catches this season before this game (9), putting down a couple of chances off Suryakumar Yadav (71 off 54) who eventually turned out to be Mumbai’s match winner in a chase of 132.
Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock came into this game on the back of a couple of good innings but with them dismissed early, Chennai would have sensed a chance to end its dismal run of results against Mumbai.
Suryakumar, though, cashed in brilliantly on drops from Murali Vijay and Shane Watson playing a composed knock to take his side over the line and into the final.
It was also a case of Mumbai’s inexperienced spin troika (Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Jayant Yadav) coming up trumps against the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, and Ravindra Jadeja.
CSK’s frailties at the top was exposed once again as the spinners ruled the roost at the start.
Rahul Chahar had a dream start to his spell dismissing Faf du Plessis with his first delivery. Du Plessis played a cut just the previous over and survived as Jasprit Bumrah mistimed his jump at short third man and the ball hit his palm and rolled into the fence.
The pitch was already looking like a spinner’s haven and in the very next over Jayant Yadav, in for Mitchell McClenaghan, accounted for the dangerous Suresh Raina who tried to hit himself out of trouble and perished.
CSK have persisted with Watson and if there was a time for the Australian to repay the faith, it was in this game. But Watson too made the walk back after attempting to force the issue. Krunal Pandya dropped one short and Watson, trying a pull over mid-on held out to Jayant. At the end of the Powerplay, CSK found itself in a bit of rut at 32 for three.
Vijay, who replaced the injured Kedar Jadhav, and looked in great touch on his home ground. Taking a particular liking for Krunal, Vijay hit a couple of boundaries but failed to consolidate on his start – bamboozled by Rahul Chahar for 26.
The home side’s hopes were pinned firmly on the duo of MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu. 146 has been the average score batting first at Chepauk but even that seemed distant as CSK posted 91 for four with five overs to play.
A late blitz from Dhoni in the 18th over where he carted Lasith Malinga for two enormous hits brought some cheer to the sea of yellow. But a fantastic final over from Bumrah meant Mumbai were left with a tricky chase but were probably 20 runs short.