Hyderabad: That was the moment. A lifeless title clash of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League had come alive. It was the moment that gave Mumbai Indians the belief to give their all for their fourth trophy.
On the fourth ball of the 13th over, Chennai Super Kings’ skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni attempted to steal a risky second run of an over-throw but Ishan Kishan from mid-off produced a direct hit. Even as third-umpire Nigel Llong had a tough time deciding, the packed crowd here at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium waited anxiously.
As ‘out’ flashed on the big screen, CSK’s backbone had been broken. Mumbai, searching for answers, sensed a big chance. But an ultra-calm Shane Watson (80, 59b, 8x4, 4x6) kept Chennai on course to overhaul the 150-run target.
Much to Chennai’s advantage, Mumbai did everything to lose the contest. The experienced Lasith Malinga (1/49) leaked 20 runs in the 17th over while Krunal Pandya gave as many in the 19th over. In between these two overs, Mumbai, shockingly dropped Watson twice, both being extremely simple chances.
With nine required off the final over, skipper Rohit Sharma gave Malinga a chance to redeem himself. Watson’s run-out on the fourth ball put Mumbai slightly in front. And this edition lived up to its script, by pushing the game to the final ball. Chennai needed two runs but Shardul Thakur missed a typical slow yorker off Malinga. As the umpire raised his finger, the final had met a fitting end and Mumbai Indians had emerged champions for the fourth time.
“Last ball I thought if they get one run then the game will go to the Super Over. I didn’t want that. I wanted us to win. So I went for my wicket ball,” said an ecstatic Malinga, who was hoisted by his team-mates.
Earlier, it was birthday boy Kieron Pollard’s (41b, 25b, 3x3, 3x6) handy knock that gave Mumbai a total to fight for. The burly West Indies batsman cut a lonely figure as wickets kept tumbling from the other end. But he kept fighting. After smashing Tahir for two sixes, Pollard finished off the innings with two fours off Bravo.
Electing to bat, Mumbai appeared to be storming their way to a huge total courtesy Quinton de Kock (29, 17b, 4x6). The southpaw cracked three sixes off Deepak Chahar in the third over that yielded 20 runs. An excellent start saw Mumbai rush to 45 runs in just four overs before Chennai had their first breakthrough.
De Kock top-edged a bouncer that rushed on to him from Thakur and Dhoni completed a simple catch. Deepak Chahar got the big fish when his knuckle ball took the edge of Rohit’s bat and Dhoni pouched a fine catch diving towards his front.
With the openers back in the hut, Chennai’s nerves had settled and they took control of the proceedings with a disciplined show. It was a perfect team effort from Chennai with the pace duo of Deepak Chahar (3/26) and Thakur (2/37) doing most of the damage. But in the end, Dhoni’s men, known as the Dad’s Army, couldn’t get the desired finish to their impressive campaign.