Mumbai Indians made umpteen mistakes to almost ruin their chances in the 2019 IPL final against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. They dropped innings top-scorer Shane Watson three times throughout a tense chase of a low total of 149-8. In the penultimate over of the match, Mumbai wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock allowed four byes straight through him that brought the equation down to nine needed off the last over instead of 13.
Then skipper Rohit Sharma gave the ball to Lasith Malinga, who had gone for 42 runs from three overs to bowl with Watson batting. But when the pressure was really on, Watson got run out trying to steal a second and with two needed off the final ball, Malinga bowled his trademark slower ball to trap Shardul Thakur lbw to clinch a one-run win off the final ball of the season for Mumbai Indians.
Watson’s second successive crucial knock in an IPL final – 80 off 59 balls – went in vain as stupendous bowling from Jasprit Bumrah (2-14) and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (1-14) made the difference before Malinga bowled a masterful final over. Mumbai thus became the first team to win the IPL four times and replicated their one-run win in the 2017 final.
Mumbai off to a flyer
Rohit gave his team the best possible chance to set the pace in the final by batting first after winnings the toss. Rohit and fellow opener De Kock got Mumbai off to a blazing start, hitting five sixes inside the first five overs. It looked like another high-scoring final, as has been the case in four of the last five deciders.
But Chennai opening seamers hit back within a span of four balls. Thakur bounced out De Kock while Rohit nicked a full ball from Deepak Chahar to the keeper. From there, Mumbai’s innings started to lose steam.
Chennai crawl back
Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav’s rebuilding efforts took way too much time with Kishan making 23 off 26 and Yadav 15 off 17. Both struggled against seam and spin and were put out of their misery by Chennai’s bowling powerhouse Imran Tahir. The veteran leggie castled Yadav and induced a leading edge off a slog from Kishan to snare his two for the match.
At the other end, Pandya brothers Krunal and Hardik came and went and it was up to Kieron Pollard to do the death overs clean-up job.
Pollard took a huge risk in the final over by farming the strike, refusing a single against the bowling of Dwayne Bravo and then seeing the next two wide-ish balls through. But the Caribbean powerhouse drilled the final two balls of the innings for fours to set a target of 150.
Watson strikes when it matters
Last year, Watson hit an unbeaten ton in the final against Sunrisers to clinch the title. And after blowing hot and cold this season, Watson rose to the occasion when his team needed him the most.
But while he was proving his worth in final, batsmen at the other end were losing the plot. Suresh Raina wasted an lbw review against leg-spinner Rahul, Ambati Rayudu edged a Bumrah bouncer behind and MS Dhoni got run-out by the tiniest of margins trying to steal a second off an overthrow.
But Aussie veteran Watson was still there, no thanks to an astounding three dropped chances – once by Malinga off a top edge when he was 31 and by Chahar off his own bowling on 42 and again in the deep after the batsman had crossed 50 and with the match in the balance.
Bumrah and Malinga pull off a miracle
When Watson smashed Malinga for three fours and a six in the 16th over and then cracked three successive sixes off Krunal in the 18th, it seemed game set and match as Chennai needed 18 from two overs. But Bumrah bowled the best over of the tournament by dismissing Dwayne Bravo and was about to end a great over when keeper De Kock let go off a regulation collection to let four byes.
Malinga then used his vast experience to nail the yorkers from round the wicket in the final over before showing great courage to bowl a full slower ball to pull off a one-run win. Mumbai thus ended with four wins from four games against Chennai this season.
Both the teams have won the competition thrice previously with a record fourth title on offer at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket stadium.
Mumbai have managed to beat CSK in three IPL 2019 meetings with the latest of them coming in the first Qualifier four days ago.
Can the defending champions make it two titles in a row or will Rohit Sharma lead Mumbai to a third IPL final win over CSK as skipper? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from Hyderabad below.
Despite his Mumbai Indians side having the upper hand over Chennai Super Kings throughout the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, skipper Rohit Sharma is not looking back at the past ahead of Sunday’s final at Hyderabad.
The two most successful franchises in IPL history lock horns in the final with a record fourth title on offer for both sides. Mumbai hold the slight advantage ahead of the final courtesy of having beaten the defending champions thrice over the course of the IPL 2019 campaign.
In three previous IPL finals between the two sides, it is Mumbai who have enjoyed greater success with two victories. However, all that counts for little for Rohit ahead of the summit clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium.
“We have to play good cricket,” the Mumbai skipper stated on the eve of the IPL final.
“For us as a team, it’s important to focus on the day, and think about how we can win the game rather than what has happened in the past, what our team or the opposition has done. For us, as long as I’m concerned, the focus will be on the game and how we can play a good one.
MI's recent H2H record against CSK is astonishing & is evidence of how a team can exploit a match-up. Overall MI have won 17 of their 29 matches v CSK. They've won 7 of the last 8 (despite having lost 6 of the 8 tosses) & have won six in a row in fortress Chepauk. #IPL #MIvCSK— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) May 8, 2019
“We will not focus on what has happened in the past, who has won trophies how many times etc. We have to treat this as another match and that is what we have done through the tournament.”
Having beaten CSK in the first Qualifier, Mumbai Indians have enjoyed a four-day break ahead of Sunday’s final but Rohit is not worried about any disruption in the team’s momentum.
“We have been on the road for a while, we were playing back to back games,” Rohit said.
“We are fortunate to have finished on the top of the table, qualify in the first play-off and get three to four days break. Everyone needed one. We could rejuvenate, come back together as a group and get together better and move forward.
“I don’t think it’s a momentum breaker to have three to four days off. In fact, I look at it in a positive way.”