Batting first, Mumbai were restricted to 149/8, nowhere close to a par total on a good Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium surface. The bowlers though had other ideas with Jasprit Bumrah (2/14) and Rahul Chahar (1/14) delivering match-winning spells. The icing on the cake was provided by Lasith Malinga, who despite being hammered for 41 runs in his first three overs redeemed himself in the most dramatic fashion defending just eight runs in the last over to overshadow Shane Watson's brilliant 59-ball 80.
Having struggled with their batting all tournament, Chennai needed a good start to ease some of the nerves and Faf du Plessis and Watson ensured that. Du Plessis was up and about early collecting a four to get off the blocks before smoking Krunal for two fours and six. The left-arm spinner did get his revenge in the same over when he had du Plessis (26 in 13) stumped but the opener had done his job of getting Chennai off to a fiery start.
Watson took over once du Plessis departed tonking Malinga for two fours and a six as the power play yielded 53 runs. However, like they have all tournament, Mumbai pulled things back nicely. The McClenaghan-Rahul Chahar combination kept Chennai quiet for the next four overs which eventually culminated in a triple strike.
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Rahul first sent back Suresh Raina trapping him plumb in front of the wicket for 8 (14) before Bumrah removed Ambati Rayudu (1) with a well-directed bouncer. The biggest moment of the night came in the 13th over of the chase when MS Dhoni was run out in a bizarre fashion. It started with a wayward throw by Malinga at short fine leg. Watson and Dhoni decided to go for an overthrow but Ishan Kishan running from long off threw the stumps down directly. Initially, it seemed the Chennai captain had made his ground but other angles proved otherwise and after much deliberation and innumerable replays, the third umpire gave Dhoni out.
At 82/4 after 13 overs, Chennai had a mountain to climb and the batsmen coming in could not withstand the pressure against a rampant Mumbai attack. Watson tried his best carting Malinga all over the park but to score over ten runs an over against the likes of Bumrah was always going to be tough. Needing nine to win in the last over, Chennai had the game in control till Watson's dismissal on the 4th ball of the over. CSK needed four from the last two balls and then Thakur got two but Malinga struck on the last ball, trapping the CSK batsman in front of the wicket.
Earlier, there was initial scratchiness from Quinton de Kock as he played out four dot balls in the first over before the left-hander decided to lay into Chennai's power play trump card, Deepak Chahar. A mighty club over cow corner, a slice beyond the third man boundary and then a bludgeoning six over deep extra cover is what de Kock collected off Deepak's second over giving Mumbai the initial impetus.
Rohit too got his boundary counter running with a pull over deep square leg against Thakur as Mumbai raced to 45/0 in just 4.4 overs. But, Chennai's ability to bounce back is what sets them apart. Thakur got one to bounce at pace hurrying de Kock, who could only glove one to Dhoni for a 17-ball 29.
Dhoni then brought back Deepak into the attack and the pacer did the job immediately getting the big fish in Rohit for 15. The 26-year-old beat the Mumbai captain all ends up with the most well-disguised knuckle ball that caught Rohit's edge and Dhoni did the rest taking a good catch diving forward.
Chennai kept the new two new batsmen, Suryakumar Yadav and Kishan on a tight leash not conceding a single boundary between overs five to nine. Kishan finally broke the shackles after the strategic time out thumping Bravo for two fours and then muscling Harbhajan Singh wide of mid-wicket.
Mumbai's joy though was short-lived with Imran Tahir striking with just his second ball of the day castling Suryakumar for 15 and the very next over, Thakur took a terrific return catch to send back Krunal Pandya for 7. Tahir then moved past Kagiso Rabada to become the sole owner of the purple cap with 26 wickets in the season when Kishan miscued a flighted delivery to be caught safely by Raina at extra cover for 23.
Mumbai slipped to 101/5 in the 15th over and needed some sort of inspiration in the death overs. That was provided by Kieron Pollard who looked switched on from ball 1. He started off by pounding Tahir for a straight six and quickly got going. Hardik Pandya had a lucky escape when Raina dropped a sitter in the 18th over but the all-rounder wasn't able to capitalise too much.
Deepak finished his spell well returning the wickets of Hardik (16) and Rahul (0) conceding just four runs in the penultimate over of the innings. There was a bit of drama in the final over but Pollard wrapped up on a high smashing Bravo for two successive fours to take his side to a competitive total. The Trinidadian ended with a 25-ball 41, his innings studded with three fours and three sixes.
First Published: May 13, 2019, 6:45 AM IST