Lasith Malinga defended nine runs off the last over as Mumbai Indians edged Chennai Super Kings by one run to lift their fourth IPL title.
With two needed off the last ball, the Sri Lanka and Mumbai Indians legend trapped Shardul Thakur LBW to send the Mumbai Indians fans into a frenzy at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
Shane Watson, the man who won CSK the final in the last edition, was threatening to take it away from Mumbai with an imperious 59-ball 80 but it went in vain as Mumbai held their nerve at the death. Maling had been hit around the park for 42 runs from three previous overs but he showed his true class and also proved that he is a crunch moment player by defending 9 runs off the last over. Earlier, Kieron Pollard had pulled Mumbai out of trouble to propel them to 149 with a breezy innings of 41 not out off 25 balls.
The two veterans – Malinga and Pollard – showcased their big game mettle and showed why they are such an integral part of the franchise over the years as they helped Mumbai win their fourth title.
Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians posted 149/8 thanks to a late burst from Kieron Pollard (41 off 25 balls).
Chasing the target, Faf du Plessis got CSK off to a breezy start. His battle with Krunal Pandya was intriguing. Rohit handed the ball to Krunal in the second over and he nearly had du Plessis off the first ball as the leading edge flew just wide off the diving Krunal off his own bowling. Du Plessis then took on the elder Pandya brother in his next over hitting four, six and four but it was Krunal who had the last laugh as he outfoxed him with a faster one watching his charge early and de Kock was quick to whip the bails off.
This was a chance for MI to apply the choke but Watson went on the counterattack off the last over before Powerplay, scoring 15 off Malinga's over including two fours and a six.
There was drama again in CSK's 7th over when Raina was adjudged caught behind off a venomous bouncer from Mitchell McClenaghan but the CSK vice-captain decided to review it. It looked that the ball had flicked the glove at the first instance but the snicko replays showed no spike. The decision was overturned. Watson, meanwhile, seemed in the flow but against the run of the play, he top-edged one to fine leg off McClenaghan but Malinga made a mess of it and the Australian survived.
MI needed a wicket now and leg spinner Rahul Chahar, who has impressed right through the season, provided the much-needed breakthrough as he trapped Raina LBW in his second over. Bumrah bounced out Ambati Rayudu in the next over and Mumbai were back into the match.
Two overs later, there was drama again, it was probably a match-changing moment where Dhoni was given out run out by the third umpire. It was a very close call. Dhoni and Watson scampered through for a second on the overthrow and Kishan knocked down the stumps at the non-striker's end as Dhoni desperately tried to complete the run. The side angle, on the replays, showed Dhoni's bat inches behind the crease but the front angle found him short and after a long break, the umpire pressed the OUT button.
An over later, CSK would have been in huge trouble had Chahar held on to a tough caught and bowled chance of Watson off his own bowling.
Chahar finished off a brilliant spell with figures of 4-0-14-1.
Just when it seemed Mumbai were no top, the match turned on its head again. As Watson went berserk in the 16th over with 62 required off 30. It was Bravo who started off the assault on Malinga with a powerfully flicked six over deep mid-wicket. A single later, Watson hit three consecutive fours to bring up his fifty off 44 balls. A single off the last ball made it 20 off the over.
A seemingly quiet Watson had found his rhythm and when he finds his rhythm he is ominous. But Mumbai could have had him back in the hut off the next ball. They didn't. It was their poor fielding that hurt them again as Chahar dropped a simple one at deep square leg off a mistimed pull from Watson off Bumrah. It was a brilliant over from Bumrah as he conceded just 4 runs off it.
With 38 needed off 18, the match see-sawed again as Watson went bonkers against Krunal and clobbered him for three sixes to turn the tide in CSK's favour. With 17 needed off 11, Bumrah had Bravo caught behind. He gave away just 4 off the next three balls but then de Kock made a huge error as he let the ball through his gloves for four byes.
With 9 required off the last over. Malinga gave away two singles off the first two balls. Watson then whipped one through mid-wicket for a couple. But then there was another twist in the match. He dug a yorker to deep point and scampered through for a single but was slow in turning back for a second. Krunal responded with a flat throw from the deep and de Kock broke the stumps. Watson was well short on his dive.
With 4 required off two balls, Shardul, the new batsman, then mistimed his heave off a full toss behind square leg for a couple to bring the equation down to 2 off 1.
However, Malinga showed his class as he trapped Shardul LBW off the final ball, with his classic slower one, to clinch the win for Mumbai.
Earlier, Kieron Pollard's late burst propelled Mumbai Indians to 149/8. Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians got off to a brisk start as openers Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma added 45 from 4.5 overs.
Deepak Chahar had started off well conceding just two runs off the first over. Rohit then injected the momentum when he pulled one over deep square leg off Shardul Thakur for a six. It wasn't quite off the middle but it still flew over the ropes.
De Kock joined the party in the next over as he hammered three sixes off Chahar - One over deep mid-wicket with his typical whip, one over deep point via a slash and one over extra cover via a well-timed loft.
MS Dhoni introduced spin in the fourth over, handing over the ball to the trusted Harbhajan Singh who has done a good job in the Powerplays. After five good balls, the off-spinner drifts one onto Rohit's pads and he sweeps it behind square leg for a four.
The CSK captain brought back Shardul from the other end. The battle between Shardul and de Kock had started. De Kock backed away but Shardul saw it early and delivered it a touch wide, de Kock looked to cut but missed.
Shardul bowled the next one short outside off, de Kock responded with a hook over deep mid-wicket for a six. The Mumbai pacer, however, wasn't flustered and bowled another bouncer, this time on the South African's body. De Kock was surprised by the pace and cramped for room and ended up top-edging his pull and Dhoni accepted a lollipop. Shardul responded with a fiery send-off. The umpire had to calm him down.
Three balls later, Rohit was foxed by a slower one from Chahar, a knuckle ball, as he ended up edging a one-handed swing to Dhoni who pouched a good low catch. It ended up as a wicket maiden. And CSK applied the choke from then on as the next three overs went for just 13 runs before a single boundary.
Ishan Kishan then released the pressure valve a bit with two fours in the 10th over, off Dwayne Bravo. Kishan and Suryakumar tried to up the scoring with two more fours off Harbhajan off the next over.
With the partnership developing, Dhoni brought on Imran Tahir and he struck off just his second ball as Suryakumar dragged one on.
Two more wickets and Mumbai Indians were reeling. Krunal was bounced out by Shardul's most lethal weapon of the night – the bouncer – and this time he followed up with a brilliant catch off his own bowling and then Kishan top-edged an Imran Tahir googly to Raina at cover to become the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
In the meantime, Pollard had started off cautiously, with two runs off four balls, but then opened his boundary account with a thumping six straight down the ground off Tahir.
He again thumped another six off Tahir in the next over, racing to 24 off 16 balls. Thakur came back for his last over in the 18th over and could have had Pandya but Raina dropped a simple catch at cover following a lazy effort. Pollard hit the next ball for a six over mid-wicket to run salt into his wounds before Pandya followed up with a helicopter for another six to make it 16 off the over.
Chahar returned to bowl a brilliant over, the penultimate one and his last, as he gave away just four runs and clinched the wicket of Pandya. The over also saw McClenaghan sacrifice his wicket in a bid to get Pollard back on strike while scampering through for a second.
There was a bit of drama in between. Chahar delivered one wide outside off, it was out of the guideline but the umpire didn't signal a wide. Pollard was unimpressed and as Bravo charged in to bowl the next ball, Pollard, bizarrely, walked towards the off-side wide line and kept walking, Bravo had to stop midway. And then the umpires had a long chat with Pollard. A fired up Pollard then crashed two fours to end the innings in style and help MI reach 149/8.
In the end, his innings made the difference.
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