There is a reason the Indian Premier League is called the best T20 league in the world! Sunday was absolute testimony to that fact as the Mumbai Indians held their nerve to clinch their fourth title defeating old foes Chennai Super Kings.
It was an
absolute sense of déjà vu for Mumbai as they pulled off a heist with another
one-run victory in a final at Hyderabad. Rohit Sharma’s side’s last triumph
came at the same venue when they edged Rising Pune Supergiant by the same
margin in 2017.
hindsight, the game changer can be pinpointed to the dismissal of MS Dhoni in
13th over when Ishan Kishan’s throw from long off crashed into the
stumps to find the Chennai skipper short under controversial circumstances.
Lasith Malinga has been a great servant for Mumbai and despite having a terrible outing, came back like a champion to defend nine runs in the last over. Rohit displayed Dhoni-esque faith in his veteran pacer, who had gone for 42 in three over before the final over. A slower ball caught Shardul Thakur dead in front and that was that!
Another final and another special show from Shane Watson, who rode his luck to hammer 80 off just 59 balls, but this year around, he had to watch the last moments from the dugout as his side fell excruciatingly short. What trumped Watson’s effort was the effort of Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-14-2) and Rahul Chahar (4-0-14-1)
Tasked with the prospect of chasing 150 to lift a fourth IPL trophy Chennai openers got them off to a flier, in contradictory fashion to how it has been all season.
Faf du Plessis was once again the aggressor as Watson took his time to get his eye in.
Taking a particular liking for Krunal Pandya in the fourth over, Faf made room for himself and struck three consecutive boundaries (4, 6, 4). Instead of remaining satisfied with 14 from the over, Faf lost his wicket after waltzing down and missing a widish ball to get stumped.
If anything, CSK bat really deep and would need their batsman firing on a big occasion like this one. But Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu, who boast fantastic averages in Hyderabad, were circumspect and departed one after the other.
Loud cheers reverberated around the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium as Dhoni walked out with the hopes of his side hinging on a well-set Watson and him.
Dhoni’s eagerness to pinch a run off an overthrow cost him dear and despite Watson hanging in, CSK had to settle for second best on the night.
A sedate start was then followed by Rohit carting Thakur over the midwicket boundary for the first maximum of the innings. It seemed like just the boost Rohit’s partner Quinton de Kock needed as he laid into Deepak Chahar the very next over.
Coming against some supremely clean hitting, Chahar conceded 20 runs as Mumbai began to turn up the heat.
Just when it seemed like Mumbai were running away with the game, Shardul sent de Kock packing with a well-directed bouncer that Dhoni pouched with ease, overtaking Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper with most dismissals (134) in the IPL.
Once again, Dhoni exhibited his sheer mental acumen and impression on individuals as he tossed the ball to Chahar, also handing him a change of ends. It proved a masterstroke as Rohit edged a knuckle ball to Dhoni, with Chahar going a step further and ending the Powerplay with a wicket maiden.
The heroes from Qualifier 1 – Suryakumar Yadav and Kishan – joined hands to rebuild the innings from 45 for two and were doing a decent job until the South African talisman Imran Tahir was introduced. As has been the case all season, Tahir’s impact was immediate and he castled Suryakumar with a slider. At that stage, the scoreboard read 82 for two with eight overs to go and with the batting powerhouse Mumbai is, 170 is what Rohit’s men would have been eyeing.
But Chennai seemingly looked to have learnt from its three successive losses to Mumbai and got a strangle hold in the middle overs. Shardul accounted for Krunal and then Tahir had Kishan caught by Raina at cover.
Anything is possible with Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya at the crease considering the duo have hurt CSK on more than one occasion this season. When Suresh Raina dropped Hardik, who was batting on four, it looked like it would cost Dhoni’s men dear but all the India all-rounder could get was 16 before being caught in front of the stumps by Chahar.
Pollard did finish the innings with a couple of hits to the fence giving Mumbai a fighting chance as they crawled to 149 for eight after a prolific start.
After Chahar’s 19th over where he dismissed Hardik and Rahul Chahar, Mumbai’s win percentage dipped to 39.
Krunal was hammered for 20 in the 18th over increasing CSK’s chances by 23 per cent (53)