Mumbai Indians created history by becoming the first team to win the IPL for a record three times, when they beat Rising Pune Supergiant, the team they had lost to thrice earlier in the tournament, by one run in the final in Hyderabad on Sunday night.
MI defended a modest 130-run target on the back of a magnificent bowling effort from Mitchell Johnson who’s, playing his fifth game of the season, successfully defended 11 off the last over and finished with 3/26 to outshine an equally impressive knock from Steve Smith (51). This is also the first time since 2008 that a team finishing first in the Points Table has lifted the trophy.
The previous defeat against Supergiant perhaps fresh, Rohit Sharma for a change, decided to post a target rather than chase one. But from ball one, it were the Rising Pune Supergiant who kept the dice rolling. On a decent enough surface to bat on, MI batsmen struggled; to an extent that they could score just 16 runs after five overs, the lowest in that period. Knowing how much Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons like the ball coming onto their bats, Steve Smith made Washington Sundar open the bowling alongside his key fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat. And the results followed immediately. The pressure created after the first two overs, in which only seven runs were scored, paid off when Parthiv mistimed a pull off Unadkat to Shardul Thakur at mid-on. Three balls later, Unadkat’s cutter did the trick again. Simmons, trying to nudge it to leg, managed a leading edge and the bowler, in the middle of his follow through, stretched his left arm out to pluck a one-handed return catch. Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma had no choice but to bide their time and play themselves in. The first boundary came after five overs.
Wickets followed by wickets
After five overs, Mumbai were 16/2. They doubled it in the next over with Rohit spanking Lockie Ferguson for four boundaries in the over. But that joy was short-lived, courtesy a splendid direct hit from Smith that resulted in Rayudu’s run-out. Even as Rohit, along with Krunal Pandya attempted to rebuild the innings, the bowlers, who operated impeccably on a stump-to-stump line, didn’t make it easy. Rohit’s short-yet-entertaining knock was cut short when he holed out to Thakur off Adam Zampa, dealing MI a telling blow. Thereon, MI completely fell apart. Keiron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Karn Sharma departed with scores at 65, 78 and 79.
Krunal leads MI towards trophy
At 79/7, all doors seemed to be shutting on Mumbai Indians, before Krunal did the sensible thing to try to stay till the end, which he did. Well, almost. Krunal banked on running hard between the wickets for the most part of his innings before switching gears in the end. The big shots finally came out in the last three overs, and he got 13, 10 and an extremely crucial 14 runs in the final three overs before departing for 47 – with three fours and two sixes – off the last ball of the innings. He got able support from Mitchell Johnson, who did not give his wicket at the other end. The eighth-wicket stand between the two batsmen was worth 50 runs, and it took MI to 129/8.