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
Shane Watson hit 80 after getting three lives. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.
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.