Mumbai Indians edge CSK to clinch IPL crown

Hyderabad: In a match befitting a tournament final, the Mumbai Indians defeated the Chennai Super Kings by the slimmest of margins — by 1 run — to be crowned champions of VIVO IPL 2019. In the Final played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, the Mumbai Indians posted a below-par 149-8 batting first, and then restricted the Super Kings to 148-7. Lasith Malinga had two runs to defend off the final delivery; after a miserable day in the field, he landed a perfectly-disguised slower delivery to dismiss Shardul Thakur LBW.
There was a pattern to how both innings unfolded; both teams got off to brisk starts, but lost wickets in a heap and therefore lost their way in the middle period. Kieron Pollard helped MI finish on a high, while Shane Watson played a scintillating knock that nearly took CSK across the line.
At the start of the chase, Faf du Plessis dominated the opening partnership — just like he’d done in Qualifier 2; CSK’s opening pair added 33 in four overs, of which du Plessis’ contribution was 26. Watson and Suresh Raina added 37 runs for the second wicket and helped CSK consolidate, but losing three wickets for 12 runs set them back.
It was at this point that Watson took matters into his own hands. The Australian launched into Lasith Malinga and Krunal Pandya, and put his team in the driver’s seat; but his run out — with two balls remaining in the innings — gave the Mumbai Indians the opening they needed. MI gladly took that opportunity and sealed the match.
For MI, Jasprit Bumrah (2-14) was sensational with the ball, while Rahul Chahar (who dismissed Suresh Raina to trigger a middle-overs collapse) was economical. Mitchell McClenaghan bowled with plenty of fire, but didn’t have any wicket to show for his good work with the ball. Krunal Pandya and Malinga picked up a wicket each.
Earlier in the evening, after opting to bat first, the Mumbai Indians openers began cautiously — scoring just two singles off the first over — before they turned the heat on. Captain Rohit Sharma was the first to tee off when he deposited a short delivery from Shardul Thakur into the stands at square-leg. In the third over, Quinton de Kock joined in, hitting Deepak Chahar for three sixes. The runs continued to flow for MI as Rohit collected a boundary off Harbhajan Singh in the fourth over and de Kock collected a six off Thakur in the fifth over. But in a sudden turn of events, MI lost both openers in the space of four deliveries.
The MI innings had derailed, and the rebuilding job was done by Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, who added 37 runs at run-a-ball. And then again, a second collapse meant MI had no momentum heading into the backend of the innings.
Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya added 39 runs in quick time before the latter was trapped in front of the stumps. It was then left to birthday boy Pollard to take MI to a respectable total; the Trinidadian made 41 not out — the top score of the innings. MI finished their twenty overs at 149-8.
The Super Kings pulled things back spectacularly after being taken to the cleaners early on; after conceding 45 in the first 4.4 overs — at 9.64, they only conceded 104 in the remaining 15.2 overs at 6.78 runs per over. Deepak Chahar was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 3-26, while Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir picked up two wickets each.
Standout Batting
Kieron Pollard came out to bat after MI had slipped to 89-4 in the thirteenth over; the Trinidadian didn’t take too many risks early on and waited for the loose ball to come his way. His first opportunity came in the fifteenth over when Imran Tahir didn’t land, and Pollard duly sent it on its way into the sight-screen. Tahir was at the receiving end again in the seventeenth — this time a half-tracker was sent into orbit. Pollard’s third and final six of the night was a pull off a short delivery from Thakur in the eighteenth. Despite keeping strike for the whole of the last over, Pollard could only collect two boundaries — off the final two balls of the innings, to finish 41 not out; his 25-ball knock contained three boundaries and as many sixes.