By Jaideep Vaidya
Kolkata: May 26, 2013
Kieron Pollard (60 not out off 42 balls) shone with the bat to take Mumbai Indians to 148 for nine, before their bowlers produced an inspired effort to inflict a 23-run defeat on two-time champions Chennai Super Kings to clinch their first ever Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
The powerpacked Chennai batting line-up failed to show up on the biggest occasion of all as the team lost their second successive IPL final. There were ducks against the names of three of the top six Chennai batsmen, which provided a clear picture of their shocking stage fright.
Mumbai, who had been reduced to 16 for three after electing to bat first at Eden Gardens, gave Chennai a dose of their own medicine early in the second innings as they took three quick wickets for as many runs.
Mumbai plucked the rabbit out of the hat and flung it at the Chennai openers as Lasith Malinga was given the new ball. The Sri Lankan ‘slinga’ had always come in as the first change earlier in the tournament, and as he charged in to bowl the first over tonight, the Chennai top-order were caught unawares.
Malinga picked two in two to send two of the top-five run-scorers this season — Michael Hussey (1) and Suresh Raina (0) — packing without troubling the scorers much. Even the Umbrella Man of Chennai, Subramaniam Badrinath, could do nothing to plug the leak as he was pierced by Mitchell Johnson’s in-swinger and edged to Dinesh Karthik for a duck.
Dwayne Bravo stuck around with Murali Vijay until the last ball of the Powerplay, when he chipped Rishi Dhawan straight to mid-on to make it 35 for four. That was soon to become 39 for six as Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja both threw their wickets away and left Mumbai in pole position for their first title.
Albie Morkel and captain MS Dhoni, who surprisingly walked in as late as No 7, then shared an 18-run stand before Pragyan Ojha bowled the South African. Chris Morris soon gave Harbhajan Singh his second wicket after being foxed by the off-spinner’s wrong ‘un.
With 90 to win off the last 48 balls and two wickets in hand, if there was anyone who could get Chennai past the line, it was Dhoni. Along with Ravichandran Ashwin, the man with the Midas touch reduced the equation to 52 off the last three — still a plausible target.
However, Ashwin (9) scooped Pollard to mid-wicket trying to give Dhoni the strike to all but end the match. Malinga bowled the penultimate over and conceding eight runs, giving Chennai an impossible 42 to get from the last six balls.
Dhoni hit two sixes in the last over, ending on 63 not out.
Earlier, in the first innings, Trinidadians Kieron Pollard (60 not out off 32 balls) and Dwayne Bravo (four for 42) stole the show as Mumbai put on 148 for nine.
Bravo thus became the first bowler to take more than 30 wickets in a single season of IPL, ending this season with 31 victims. The previous best tally was 28 by Lasith Malinga in the 2011 edition.
Pollard saved Mumbai the blushes with a typical slam-bang innings, including seven fours and three sixes, after coming in at No 6 and gave his team a fighting total. Pollard could have scored more, had he got to face more than the 13 deliveries that he did in the last five overs.
Mumbai got off to a bad start, before Ambati Rayudu (37) and Pollard shared a 48-run stand to steady the wobble. The duo had earlier combined for an unbeaten 85-run stand in just over six overs to take Mumbai to an unlikely victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad, so they knew each other well.
The unlikely pairing did well to steady Mumbai’s wobbles and took them to the second timeout, taken after the 15th over, without further damage. Then, as if on cue for Mumbai, they lost another wicket to the two-and-a-half minute break in momentum as Bravo uprooted Rayudu’s (37) middle-stump.
Even as the wickets continued to tumble around him, Pollard was there to shepherd his side till the end and finished the innings by whamming his Trinidadian compatriot for two massive sixes to take Mumbai to a score they would consider themselves good enough to defend.
As it turned out, it was a more-than-sufficient total to defend.
Mumbai Indians 148 for 9 in 20 overs (Kieron Pollard 60*, Ambati Rayudu 37; Albie Morkel 2 for 12, Dwayne Bravo 4 for 42) beat Chennai Super Kings 125 for 9 in 20 overs (MS Dhoni 63*; Harbhajan Singh 2 for 14, Mitchell Johnson 2 for 19, Lasith Malinga 2 for 22) by 23 runs.