Mumbai Indians had Chennai Super Kings on the ropes when they dismissed their top three for just eight runs by the third over while Ambati Rayudu retired hurt. However, failing to amp up the pressure allowed CSK to find their way back into the game as Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo took CSK to 156/6 in 20 overs.
Speaking on Cricket.com's review of the IPL 2021 second leg opener, West Indies legend Brian Lara said stand-in captain Kieron Pollard took his foot off the gas which allowed CSK to comeback.
"Mumbai Indians didn't play bad cricket. But you have to give credit to CSK. They were three wickets down early when they should've been done and dusted by Mumbai. I think this was the time when Kieron Pollard didn't step on the gas at the right time, which allowed Chennai to come back," Lara said.
With Trent Boult and Adam Milne striking in the Powerplay, Mumbai held back on Jasprit Bumrah who bowled the eight over and came back only after the 13th over. Lara felt that Mumbai made a tactical mistake by not using their star bowler.
"They had two spinners and they had to use at some point of time. But you can't have Bumrah bowling just one over at that stage when there is a need for a breakthrough. Mumbai didn't bowl badly, but it was how they used their bowlers strategically," he said.
Lara also pointed out to Mumbai nervousness while chasing, as they lost wickets regularly and fell short by 20 runs.
"Mumbai might've walked off at the halfway stage thinking 'How did Chennai get to 160, when they should not have been there'. When it came to their batting, there were a lot of false shots and they didn't look comfortable. Chennai played like champions, a team that wins from any situation."
After being reduced to 58/4 in the 10th over, Mumbai seemed to rebuild with Pollard and Saurabh Tiwary at the crease, but Josh Hazelwood trapped the MI skipper leg before which turned the tide for CSK's.
"Yes, it was a key moment in the game at that point because Kieron Pollard is a player against whom no total is safe," Lara said.
Lara praised Gaikwad for holding the innings together with an unbeaten 88 off 58 balls.
"But, the innings from Ruturaj Gaikwad was the turning point for me. The senior players were losing their wickets and he is a junior in the team who kept batting well," Lara said. "I am close to Dwayne Bravo and other guys who are rate him very highly. It's a great thing for a young player to win the game for your team."
With Mumbai fourth in the table, teams in the bottom half of the table will believe they can qualify for a top-four finish.
"Obviously, the teams at the bottom have to be optimistic. You don't want a team like Mumbai Indians to be pulling away from you. As long as they remain on eight points the other teams have a chance. The likes of Punjab Kings, KKR or SRH will think that they have a battle on their hands because the wrong team in the fourth position," Lara said.