Billed as the EL Classico of IPL, Mumbai led by youngster Rahul Chahar did the damage early restricting Chennai to a below par 131/4. Suryakumar Yadav then having rediscovered his form last match shepherded the chase expertly stroking an unbeaten 54-ball 71 to take Mumbai through to the final by six wickets.
The Chepauk surface gripped, turned and bounced from the outset as the Mumbai spinners took hold of proceedings early. Leg-spinner Chahar drew first blood getting rid of the in-form Faf du Plessis, who cut a short of length delivery straight to point for 6. Suresh Raina (5) slammed Jayant Yadav for a four off a free-hit but the bowler had the last laugh two balls later when the CSK No.3 looking to hoick one against the turn could only sky it straight up for Jayant to complete a safe catch.
Jasprit Bumrah introduced into the attack in the fifth over was taken for two fours by Watson (10) but the opener couldn't carry on with spin bringing about his undoing too. Seeking to end the Powerplay on a high, Watson tried to take on Krunal Pandya against the turn but mistimed his pull to mid-on where Jayant held onto a good catch running back.
M Vijay, the local boy, then came in and immediately meant business. He first struck Krunal for two glorious fours before creaming Rahul to the deep cover fence. Just when it seemed Vijay will be Chennai's saviour, a ripper of a delivery from Rahul had him beaten all ends up. He drew the batsman forward with a well-flighted leg-break and Vijay failing to reach the pitch of the delivery was stumped for a run-a-ball 26.
At 68/4 after 13 overs, Chennai needed another MS Dhoni special to bail them out. He was quickly off the blocks thumping Jayant for a mighty six over long on while Ambati Rayudu too got going with a half a dozen over deep mid-wicket. But on a sluggish surface with the spinners not ready to give away an inch, the boundaries did not come as frequently as the duo would have liked.
Chennai scored only at run-a-ball between overs 14 to 18 before Dhoni took Lasith Malinga to the cleaners smashing him for two back-to-back sixes in the penultimate over. Bumrah should have got Dhoni first ball off the final over but he over-stepped. The pacer, however, came back strongly to concede only nine runs in the last over to restrict the men in yellow.
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 37 in 29 balls which included three sixes while Rayudu finished 42*. For Mumbai, Rahul was easily the pick of the bowlers returning exceptional figures of 2/14 off his four overs while Krunal and Jayant bagged a wicket each.
Mumbai's chase got off to a rollicking start with Rohit Sharma (4) cracking Deepak Chahar for a four through covers first ball but the pacer had his revenge immediately. Getting one to tail away from the batsman, Deepak pinned Rohit right in front of the stumps albeit a bit high but the umpire's on-field decision of out stayed with relays confirming the ball would have clipped the top of leg stump.
De Kock got going with a late cut to the third man fence off Harbhajan Singh and then using his wrists effectively lapped Deepak to the fine leg boundary. But this aggression is what ultimately brought about his downfall. Looking to heave Harbhajan inside-out over covers, de Kock timed the ball well but failed to hit the gap and hit it straight to du Plessis at wide long-off for 8.
Suryakumar had a lucky escape when on 11 Vijay failed to hold onto a chance at mid-off and the Mumbai No.3 made sure he made Chennai pay. He showed great maturity and level-headedness to take the chase forward along with Ishan Kishan who too displayed a solid temperament.
There were not too many boundary balls on offer but the duo made sure they did not lose their cool and kept rotating the strike. Suryakumar was the aggressor on the odd occasion Mumbai did manage to find the fence. A fine glance wide of short third man helped him raise his fifty off 37 balls.
Chennai threatened to stage a comeback of sorts when Imran Tahir struck twice in two balls, first castling Ishan for 28 and then getting rid of Krunal first ball. But, Suryakumar and Hardik Pandya (13) ensured there were no further hiccups as Mumbai chased down the target with nine balls to spare.
First Published: May 8, 2019, 6:10 AM IST