Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Mumbai Indians lift 4th IPL title; Pollard, Hardik and Malinga the heroes
May 12, 2019 - Mumbai Indians had won the IPL title in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Hence, when it came to 2019, the arithmetic progression said that the franchise should win again. But cricket does not work on APs, or does it?
It was a strange year for both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. MI, who are generally slow starters, were quick to get off the blocks this time around and were looking dominant from the beginning itself. On the contrary, Chennai Super Kings, who generally looked a class apart, were not that clinical this time around.
However, by the end of the league stage, both teams were equal on 18 points and proceeded to Qualifier 1, where Mumbai registered a comfortable 6-wicket victory.
As luck would have it, Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Capitals by 6 wickets in Qualifier 2 and met Mumbai Indians again, who are waiting for their opponents in the final.
If there is one team who has had the wood over Chennai Super Kings, it is Mumbai Indians, especially in this season. The team had faced MI thrice and had lost each time in 2019. It was soon going to be 4-0.
To add to the eerie mathematics, Mumbai Indians batted first in the 2019 final. As it turned out, three of the four IPL finals between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been won by the team batting first.
Mumbai did not bat as well as they would have liked. Their main contributor was Kieron Pollard who, in effect, was responsible for taking the team to the score of 149 as he added 41 runs off just 25 deliveries. Quinton de Kock also made 29 off 17 balls. Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur shared five wickets between them.
Mumbai Indians ended up scoring only 149 runs on a Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium pitch in Hyderabad which was good enough for at least 20 more. But, the Rohit Sharma-led side was no stranger to winning finals after scoring below-par totals.
They had won after scoring just 148 against Chennai Super Kings itself in 2013 and then beat Rising Pune Supergiant by 1 run in the 2017 IPL final when they only scored 129.
In response, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson got off to a good start and Watson shepherded the innings all along. But, CSK's three main middle-order batsmen in Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni were dismissed without troubling the scorers much. However, Watson approached the chase well and brought the equation down from 62 required off the last 5 overs to just 9 off the last over.
Rohit Sharma had to make the choice of giving the last over to the seasoned Lasith Malinga or the young Hardik Pandya. While Malinga had given away 42 runs from his first three overs, Pandya had conceded just 3 from his only over. The Mumbai Indians skipper went with experience and Malinga repaid his faith.
The slinger gave away just 5 runs off his first 4 balls which also accounted for the run-out of Shane Watson. With two runs required off the last delivery, Malinga bowled a slow and dipping off-cutter which trapped Shardul Thakur right in front of the wickets and Mumbai Indians were successful in winning the game by the narrowest margin of 1 run.
The losing captain MS Dhoni was on-point with his reading of the final: "Looking at it as an IPL final, I think both the teams, it was quite funny: we were just passing the trophy to each other. We committed a lot of mistakes, and Mumbai Indians also did the same. At the end of the day the winning team was the one that committed one mistake less than the other team. I think it was a very good final, it went close, last ball, so couldn't have gone better."
With this, MI became the only team to have won the IPL four times and Rohit Sharma became the only player to register 5 wins in IPL finals.
Jasprit Bumrah was given the Man of the Match award for his gold-standard figures of 4-14-2 at an economy of 3.50. Andre Russell was crowned the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
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