An oscillating battle in the season finale saw Mumbai Indians (MI) grab a fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) title after a narrow one-run win over arch-rivals, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Hyderabad on Sunday.
Opting to bat first, Mumbai ambled along to a decent total of 149 but CSK were kept in the game by Shane Watson's terrific half-century despite wickets tumbling at the other end. In the end, Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga, after a minor hiccup, combined to do the unthinkable for Mumbai yet again. Here are the best moments from the match:
De Kock unsettling the powerplay genius and the strong comeback
Deepak Chahar has been outstanding in the powerplay overs for Chennai Super Kings across IPL seasons. He had bowled 170-plus dot balls in the season, the most by any bowler, but came second best early on against a rampaging Quinton de Kock in the final.
The South African was determined to derail Chennai's plans early and Chahar's length balls were an easy target. He smoked Chahar over midwicket with his characteristic pick up shot for six off the first ball of the third over to kick start Mumbai's acceleration. Two balls later, he sliced the bowler over point for six and smashed a third maximum in the over when he lifted the fifth ball over extra cover. With 20 runs in the over, CSK were pegged back early.
Chahar, though, came back strong after Dhoni changed his end. He bowled a wicket maiden in the final over of the powerplay to restrict Mumbai Indians' surge. The swing bowler then had Rohit Sharma caught behind with a 119.8 kmph knuckle ball and contained Ishan Kishan to bowl a terrific comeback over. He added two more wickets, including that of the dangerous Hardik Pandya, in his final over which leaked just four runs.
The two sides of CSK's fielding
CSK have been all over the place with their fielding this season but on Sunday, they had some jaw-dropping moments in the field at Hyderabad. Ravindra Jadeja nearly pulled off one of the best catches in the history of the league when he ran hard and dove full stretch close to the ropes to nearly pluck a brilliant catch with Suryakumar Yadav's wicket on the line.
Later, Shardul Thakur bounced Krunal Pandya with a sharp bumper and found a top edge. The ball seemed to be headed down no man's land but Thakur covered good ground, put in a well-timed dive and juggled once before completing a brilliant catch.
However, all didn't end well in the field for Chennai as Suresh Raina droped a sitter in the 18th over to give Hardik a reprieve. Thakur had forced a mistimed hoick off Hardik and Raina at cover dropped a fairly straightforward catch. Hardik added a six in the over and made 12 more runs before Chahar trapped him leg-before in front.
The Pollard-Bravo drama
West Indies team mates Kieron Pollard and Dwyane Bravo were involved in another drama on the field in the IPL, this time in the final over of the first innings at Hyderabad. After Pollard refused to run despite drilling the ball to long off in the first ball of the over, Bravo played with the tramline and delivered two dots on the trot.
Both his deliveries were actually outside the wide line but the umpire hadn't called a wide, which pissed Pollard off. He threw his bat in the air in disgust and as Bravo ran in to bowl again, Pollard started walking outside the wide line in a sarcastic manner. The umpires had to intervene to warn Pollard but the pumped up Windies batsman ended the over with back-to-back boundaries to seek his revenge.
Three years back, Bravo, then playing for Gujarat Lions, and Pollard were involved in a mid-pitch incident with the two staring down each other before Pollard waved his bat at Bravo to send him back. Back then however, the incident was viewed as a light-hearted one unlike the tramline drama on Sunday night.
The overthrow that cost CSK
MS Dhoni had ambled along to two in eight balls but his striking prowess and composure in the death overs was just what Chennai Super Kings needed in the final. With Watson going strong at one end, Dhoni's role was to stay on until the death and help tackle the incredible duo of Bumrah and Malinga.
However, his innings was cut short by an unfortunate incident in the 13th over. A short ball from Hardik was gloved to fine leg by Watson where Malinga picked the ball up and aimed at the non-striker's end. He missed and the resultant over throw went to long off. Dhoni and Watson looked to steal a second run but Ishan Kishan had hurried onto the ball and he threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end with Dhoni found short after several replays.
The decision to rule Dhoni run-out created a momentary confusion given that he seemed to have made his ground from the side-on angle with split cameras. The front-on angle, though, was more conclusive and showed Dhoni to be just short as the bails lit up.
Mumbai Indians don't want Watson out
Mumbai Indians seemed intent on not letting Watson go back to the pavilion. The Australian lived a charmed life during his knock of 80 off 59 balls.
Watson on 31: In the ninth over of the innings, Malinga gave Watson a life when he top-edged a slower short ball only for the Sri Lankan to make a meal out of a high catch.
Watson on 42: Watson was on 42 off 40 balls and Rahul Chahar was in the middle of a sensational spell when the Australian drove a full ball straight back at the bowler. Chahar, though, shelled the catch to give Watson his second reprieve.
Watson on 55: Off the first ball of the 17th over, Watson top-edged a pull of Bumrah down deep square leg's throat. Rahul, the fielder at the position, however, let go of another catch as Watson continued his lucky streak.
The death overs mayhem
The season finale on Sunday went to the wire with both teams tussling for supremacy in a nail-biting encounter. The last three overs of the innings were chaotic to say the least as the two sides made their final charge towards the glittering trophy.
The 18th over: With Malinga leaking runs, Rohit pulled a rabbit out of his hat by tossing the ball to Krunal, perhaps to exploit Watson's weakness against the ball turning away. But the Australian was well set at the crease and slammed three back-to-back sixes in the over to bring Chennai into the game.
The 19th over: Having conceded just nine runs in his previous three overs, Bumrah was Mumbai's only hope with the required run rate having climbed down. The brilliant seam bowler was terrific with his pace and lines in the crucial over. He removed Bravo in the over and leaked just five runs in as many deliveries balls. Off the final ball, he beat Jadeja's slash but de Kock behind the stumps couldn't hold on and the ball raced away for four byes. Later, Bumrah was seen consoling an evidently disappointed de Kock, making for one of the best moments of the season.
The heart-stopping final over: Rohit decided to back Malinga for the final over despite him leaking runs earlier and the move proved to be decisive. The Lankan had learnt his lesson and nailed his yorkers with incredible consistency. After just three runs came from the first three balls, Watson looked for a non-existent second run and was caught short by a sharp throw from Krunal and a good bit of work from de Kock, who had his redemption for the miss in the previous over. With two to win from one ball, Malinga nailed a yorker length slower off-cutter and trapped Thakur in front to win Mumbai their fourth IPL title.