Mumbai Indians (MI) registered their 100th win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they beat Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 37 runs on Wednesday night. Opting to bowl first, Chennai inflicted early damage but watched helplessly in the end as Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya slammed their predictable death bowling. With 171 to chase down, Mumbai pushed CSK into a shell with early wickets and the visitors never really recovered from that in the run-chase.
Here are our best moments from the encounter.
Krunal Pandya's scratchy stay and lucky breaks
Krunal Pandya walked in at No 5 to do some damage control with Mumbai Indians at 50/3. The all-rounder smashed 42 in 32 balls while stitching together a 62-run stand with Suryakumar Yadav but his innings was fraught with edges and reprieves. On 17 off 15 balls in the 13th over, he was let off when Mohit Sharma dropped a regulation catch at mid-off. Krunal continued to live on the edge, though, and next over he was given out lbw to Shardul Thakur.
The elder Pandya brother reviewed the decision immediately and was saved by an inside edge. The over after that, he escaped a direct hit from Suresh Raina by a whisker and two overs post that, his mistimed shots off successive deliveries just about evaded the fielders. He wasn't lucky a third time, though, when he hit Mohit to long-off where Jadeja held onto a catch.
When Dhoni fumbled twice
In the second-last over of the Mumbai innings, we witnessed a rare occurrence on the cricket field when MS Dhoni fumbled twice in the gap of a few seconds. Thakur's full ball was glided past point by Pandya but Dhoni failed to gather the throw from the deep cleanly. He fumbled with the ball and it rolled down the pitch to the other end.
Hardik seemed eager to steal an additional run but Dhoni rushed forward to prevent that and had a golden chance to run Pandya out at the non-striker's end. However, the Chennai skipper missed his underarm fling at the stumps as Pandya made his ground. Pandya and Dhoni were seen all smiles after the mid-pitch chaos which nearly cost Mumbai a run-out and CSK an additional run.
Kieron Pollard's power play and Hardik's flourish
Pollard came in with just two overs left in the innings but made an impact when he bludgeoned two massive sixes — one each off Thakur and Bravo. Thakur's back of a length ball was blasted flat through long-on for a huge six while in the last over, he belted Bravo's waist level full toss — unfairly called a no-ball — for a huge six over mid-wicket.
Pandya, who had begun the power war, had earlier slammed Thakur's length ball for a huge six in the penultimate over. In the final over, he topped it by going after Bravo's deadly slower balls and yorkers. A yorker on the stumps was dispatched over cow corner with a helicopter shot and a yorker outside off-stump was slashed over point for another maximum. Interspersed between the two, Pandya smashed a four through extra cover as well to rob 29 off the final over and take Mumbai Indians to 170, a total that seemed improbable until he walked in.
Pollard takes a blinder
Kieron Pollard pulled off the catch of the season, and perhaps the IPL itself, when he jumped backwards with one arm outstretched to latch onto a very tough chance to send Suresh Raina back. Jason Behrendorff's short ball outside off-stump was cut in the direction of sweeper cover where Pollard was manning the fence.
The West Indian rushed in to take the catch but quickly realised that he had to be closer to the ropes. Nonchalant as ever, he calmly stretched out his arms, caught the ball while jumping back and rolled over before standing up to thump his chest at the Mumbai Indians fans in the crowd. The sensational catch reduced CSK to 33/3 and gave Mumbai the massive wicket of Raina.
Pandya's twin strikes and the irony
Hardik Pandya had an incredible night at the Wankhede on Wednesday. After blitzing an 8-ball 25 with the bat in the final few overs, he turned up with the ball and delivered decisive blows that derailed Chennai's already fading hopes. Pandya sent back MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over to reduce Chennai to 89/5 in the 15th over.
The double strikes put CSK in a pretty familiar situation for they had played out nearly the same scenario last year in the season-opener against Mumbai at the very same venue.
Then, CSK lost the exact five players they lost upfront in this match (Watson, Rayudu, Raina, Dhoni, and Jadeja) and required more than eleven runs per over when Kedar Jadhav and Dwayne Bravo (who were again the pair at the same juncture on Wednesday) joined hands. In 2018, the former was hobbling and left the field three balls later only to return in the final over and win it for CSK.
This time around, the asking rate was a touch higher and CSK eventually lost by a large margin. Incidentally, Bravo suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday, much like Jadhav last year while the non-injured partner made a half-century on both occasions.