IPL 2018: McClenaghan jolts Chennai and other takeaways from Mumbai Indians' win

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MI are just two points behind KKR in the points table. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Mumbai Indians kept their play-offs hopes alive in the IPL with a thrilling eight-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings at Pune on Saturday.

Having been set a target of 170, the visitors looked like they had lost their way before they got it together once again to cross the finish line with two balls to spare.

RAINA SHOWS HIS WORTH AS OTHERS FAIL

While Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina had set up Chennai nicely for the death overs, the former’s dismissal took the sting out of the hosts’ batting. In-form MS Dhoni got off to a good start (26) but he and Dwayne Bravo fell in quick succession as Mumbai staged a mini comeback.

There was no let-up from Raina’s end though as the most-capped player in IPL history continued to land the big blows from time to time. The 31-year-old notched up his 33rd IPL fifty in 35 balls before providing a strong finish to the hosts with a six off the last delivery.

He remained unbeaten on 75 off just 47 deliveries with the help of six boundaries and four towering sixes.

POLLARD’S INCREDIBLE RUN COMES TO AN END

Kieron Pollard has long been a mainstay for Mumbai in the IPL but it has not gone to plan for the West Indies all-rounder in 2018.  The 30-year-old had only managed to register a combined total of 63 runs in five innings heading into Saturday’s clash. Pollard has also shied away from bowling duties this year which has seen calls for his axing only increase with each passing day.

Hence, it was only inevitable when Rohit Sharma named a Mumbai playing XI sans Pollard ahead of Saturday’s clash with the defending champions staring down the barrel.

His place in the side was taken by Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting. It meant that Pollard’s incredible run of 33 consecutive appearances for the franchise came to an end.

McCLENAGHAN’S DOUBLE-STRIKE JOLTS CHENNAI

At 143-2 and with the well-set Raina and Dhoni at the crease at the end of the 17th over, Chennai were inching towards a huge first-innings total before Mitchell McClenaghan threw a spanner in the works.

The Kiwi pacer dismissed Dhoni with a full toss with the first ball of the 18th over to give Mumbai some relief. With Dwayne Bravo replacing the skipper at the crease, there was no shortage of explosiveness in the Super Kings’ arsenal.

McClenaghan wasn’t having any of that though as he hurtled a sharp bouncer which Bravo could only miscue to Mayank Markande at point. Those two quick wickets by the New Zealander broke Chennai’s momentum as they could only muster 169-5 in their 20 overs after being in a very dominant position.

ROHIT SHARMA RETURNS TO FORM WITH CAPTAIN’S KNOCK

Chasing 170, Mumbai Indians had started circumspectly but with surety. Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis had given the side a solid start but by the time the latter departed with the score at 128-2, the asking-rate was nearing 11 runs an over.

Hence, the pressure was well and truly on an out-of-form skipper Rohit to see his side home. The Indian vice-captain did just that, producing a fabulous knock under pressure as he brought up his 31st IPL fifty. The right-hander smashed four boundaries in five balls in the penultimate over bowled by Shardul Thakur to pave the way for Mumbai’s second victory in the tournament.

Rohit remained unbeaten on 56 (33) and the abundant relief on his face was evident as the visitors notched up the winning runs.

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