Shane Watson smashed Krunal Pandya for 20 runs in the 18th over, and with him at the crease with just a little over 10 runs needed, the equation was looking well within CSK's grasp
2013. 2015. 2017. 2019. The arithmetic progression proved to be on target as Mumbai Indians (MI) upstaged Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the most dramatic manner possible at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
With nine needed off the last over, and Ravindra Jadeja still at the crease, CSK were fancying their chances of getting their hands on the coveted title for the fourth time in 12 seasons. However, it all came down to two runs off one ball with Shardul Thakur on strike and Lasith Malinga being the bowler. One has to say, Malinga couldn't have served Mumbai better than he did on Sunday as Mumbai clinched the nail-biting encounter by a solitary run.
Earlier in the day, Mumbai could only put up a below-par total with Thakur being the pick of the Chennai bowlers, picking up three wickets for 26 runs. With this win, Mumbai Indians now have four IPL titles to their name, all coming under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma.
Opting to bat, Mumbai were off to a flying start. Both Rohit and Quinton de Kock opened their arms from the second over of the innings and hammered the Men in Yellow bowlers all around the ground. In the first four overs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni tried three bowling options (Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh). The CSK pacers weren't effective.
However, as the case has been in the season so far, Dhoni continued with the same set of bowlers and eventually got the results as Thakur was able to provide the all-important breakthrough, sending back the dangerous de Kock, who struck 29 runs off 17 balls. Rohit and de Kock strung a partnership of 45 runs together.
Chahar, who bowled from the other end, got rid of Mumbai's skipper, bowling an outswinger and Rohit got a slight nick. In the space of four deliveries, Mumbai lost both their openers and Chennai were back in the game. At the end of the first powerplay, Mumbai managed to score at the rate of 7.5 runs an over.
After the fall of two quick wickets, Suryakumar Yadav, along with Ishan Kishan, tried to repair the Mumbai innings, as they continued to score six-seven runs an over. They managed to put up a partnership of 37 runs before Imran Tahir dislodged Suryakumar's off stump. In the very next over, Krunal Pandya departed, managing to add just seven runs to his name.
Mumbai reached the three-figure mark in 14.1 overs. However, in the next and final leg, Mumbai scored a mere 49 runs and lost four wickets. At the end of 20 overs, Mumbai were 149/8, courtesy of Kieron Pollard's 41 off 25 balls.
In response, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson provided a decent start to CSK, with du Plessis being the aggressor. In the effort to maintain the momentum, du Plessis threw his wicket away. However, Watson held his nerve and took his team's total to 53 by the end of the powerplay.
After this, Chennai lost three wickets in quick succession (Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni) but Watson was still at the crease. Watson and Dwayne Bravo scored 50 runs together and did the needful for the side.
Till the penultimate over of the innings, everything was going in favour of Chennai Super Kings and everyone thought Chennai were the favourites. However, cricket proved yet again why it is called 'the game of golden uncertainties'.
In the chase, Chennai lost in-form du Plessis early in the innings, and the onus to keep the innings intact was on Watson. Interestingly, on the fourth ball of the ninth over, Watson tried to pull a slower one from Mitchell McClenaghan towards mid-wicket. However, he ended up getting a top edge and the ball flew towards the fine-leg fielder Malinga. The Sri Lankan, however, moved sluggishly and dropped the catch.
Watson was batting on 31 at that time, and grabbed this opportunity with both hands. He showed his class even when the wickets kept falling at the other end. In the process, he registered his third IPL fifty of the season. Mumbai dropped him again, this time, when he was on 55, and it was a very crucial stage in the innings with Chennai needing 42 off 24 balls.
Watson smashed Krunal for 20 runs in the 18th over, and with him at the crease with just a little over 10 runs needed, the equation was looking well within Chennai's grasp.
However, it all changed in the final over of the chase when Chennai needed four runs off three deliveries. The Chennai players and support staff were standing just outside the boundary rope, waiting for Watson to hit the winning runs.
With Malinga coming in to bowl the third-last ball, Watson shuffled a bit and went on the back foot. Seeing this, Malinga bowled a yorker and all Watson managed to do was to get ball on ball. The ball went between point and cover, and there was always a single, nothing less - nothing more.
But Watson pushed himself for the second and paid the price. With four needed off two balls, Chennai sent Thakur ahead of Harbhajan, who could score only two runs, which hurt Chennai's chances.Last Updated 13, May 2019, 11:00 AM IST