Hyderabad: To be very frank, it was one of the best ever IPL finals as Mumbai Indians (MI) proved why they are regarded as the most capable teams in the league. MI successfully defended a small 130-run target in a last-ball cliffhanger encounter against an upbeat Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) winning it by just 1 run.
It was MI’s first win out of four matches this season against RPS and what a match they chose to do it. MI became the only team in history to lift the IPL trophy thrice in past 10 years beating RPS, which looked very much moving towards a comprehensive victory till they lost skipper Steven Smith, who played beauty of an inning scoring 51 runs off 50 balls hitting 2 fours and 2 sixes, in the final over of the inning.
He was dismissed following a sensational catch on the off side boundary by Ambati Rayudu, who somehow held on to the ball that was moving over the boundary line like a rocket.
It was a great effort by all pacemen of MI, but by the end, Mitchell Johnson suddenly turned out to be the hero getting two wickets, including that of Smith, and saving 11 runs required of the final over of the match being played at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here on Sunday.
The Aussie southpaw conceded 26 runs in his four overs and took 3 wickets to keep RPS away from the IPL glory. Jasprit Bumrah bowled one of the most aggressive and the best spells of his life today getting 2 wickets in four overs for 26 runs. He picked the important wickets of Rahul Tripathi and MS Dhoni.
The world saw a glimpse of vintage Lasith Malinga in the big match as he bowled exceptionally well in his four overs being hit for only 21 runs, though, he remained wicket-less. He conceded only two boundaries in the 24 balls he bowled, while Bumrah suffered just one six in his spell.
Karn Sharma also bowled a fine spell of 4 overs giving just 18 runs, but remained wicket-less. Krunal Pandya was a little expensive in today as he conceded 31 runs off his four overs for no wickets.
Pune was looking to outclassed Mumbai in every department of Cricket and were moving forward like giants to clinch the coveted trophy, but the MI pacemen did not let their batsmen to complete their IPL dream. RPS, however, put up an outstanding show with the ball and brilliant exhibition of fielding in the first inning before finally failing to get over the line by just one run.
RPS opener Ajinkya Rahane, who was dropped in initial phase of the inning by Krunal Pandya, played a crucial inning of 44 runs off 38 balls with five boundaries. Rahul Tripathi failed in the final scoring just 3 runs off 8 balls, while MS Dhoni, who was promoted up in the order today, could only account for 10 runs. He took 13 balls and scored one boundary at a crucial juncture of the match when Mumbai was building pressure.
Manoj Tiwary (7 off 8) kept his nerves and kept rotating the crease with Smith to help his team get near the 130-run target, which eventually did not turn out to be enough.
Daniel Christian, who was at the crease when RPS required 6 runs to win off 2 deliveries, could only score 4 runs before finally getting run out trying to take the third run to try for a ‘supper over’.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bat first, opposite to their preference of chasing.
A fearful Mumbai Indians (MI) looked under intense pressure right from the very beginning of the match as they were restricted to 129/8 by RPS bowlers.
Krunal Pandya was the only batsman from MI who showed a lot of character in his gritty 47-run knock which came off 38 balls and was decorated with 3 fours and 2 sixes. He got out on the final delivery of the inning trying to pull a slower bouncer by Daniel Christian, only to mis-time it into the comfortable hands of Ajinkya Rahane.
RPS was fully charged throughout the inning as they were brilliant with the ball as well as on the field.
Parthiv Patel (4 off 6) was the first to depart trying to play a slower delivery by Jaydev Unadkat over the mid-on fielder. In the same over, Lendl Simmons, who has been failing to fire after getting his first chance this season, once again disappointed getting out in the very same over. He was dismissed at 3 with a brilliant caught and bowled by Unadkat.
With the openers back in the dug-out, there was huge responsibility on skipper Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu. They started off nicely and were looking to build a good partnership before RPS captain Steven Smith pulled out a tremendous throw from mid-off region to run out Rayudu (12 off 15, 1 four). They added 33 runs together for the 3rd wicket.
Rohit Shamra was next to return at the individual score of 24 runs off 22 deliveries, with 4 boundaries (all came in a single over of Lockie Ferguson). After the departure of the skipper, all eyes were centered on Kieron Pollard who could not do much today getting out for 7 runs off 3 deliveries. He, however, smashed the first six of the IPL 10 final.
Hardik Pandya, who has been in great touch throughout the season, looked uncomfortable in today’s match. He could only add 10 runs off 9 balls with one six before being trapped in front of the stumps by Daniel Christian. Karun Sharma also fell prey to some brilliant work by Shradul Thakur who first bowled excellent delivery to get an outside edge of the batsman and after a tough chance got dropped, he ran through to the striker’s end to run him out.
Mitchell Johnson, however, remained unbeaten at 13 off 14 deliveries, with one six. He also partnered the crease in a 50-run stand with Krunal Pandya for the eighth wicket.
Jaydev Unadkat was once again outstanding with the bowl as he bagged 2 wickets for 19 runs in his four overs, while Adam Zampa and Daniel Christian conceded 32 and 34 runs respectively for two wickets each in their spells.
Washington Sundar, though, did not take any wickets but bowled a super economical four-over spell giving away only 13 runs of it. Shradul Thakur bowled two overs for 7 runs while Ferguson gave 21 runs in his 2 overs.
An extremely delighted blue-army led by skipper Rohit Sharma took the final lap of the ground to thank a huge fan support at the ground. Well, it seriously was the best ever IPL final as both the teams deserved to be the winners for the way they have played throughout the tournament, including the final.