Kolkata: During the 1980s and 90s, fans believed that the Indian cricket team could never lose at Eden Gardens and if they did, it led to disturbances. Mumbai Indians is slowly owning that habit in the home turf of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
On a sultry Sunday, in a city where people are succumbing to a roasting heat wave, the Rohit Sharma-led unit fought all obstacles, including Chennai Super Kings, to lift the IPL title for the second time in the eighth edition of the tournament.
Mumbai beat Chennai by 41 runs in a one-sided encounter. Chasing a gargantuan total (203) for victory, the Men in Yellow seemed uneasy from the start.
They lost Michael Hussey (4,1X4) early on to Mitchell McClenaghan – one of Mumbai’s trump card this season – and since then, the batsmen found hard to quicken the chase. Jagadeesha Suchith took a low catch at cover-point to dismiss the Australian.
Even the powerful Dwayne Smith (48, 9X4, 1X6) fell flat. However, Suresh Raina (28, 3X4, 1X6) and Smith kept rotating the strike but it wasn’t enough to maintain the enormous required rate. But soon, Harbhajan Singh – basking in the glory of his Team India comeback – trapped Smith leg-before.
The turbanator gave away 34 runs off his four overs and removed the in-form Raina too, courtesy Parthiv Patel’s quick reflex and smooth glovework. The Yellow army could not return from the early blows and wickets kept tumbling.
Dwayne Bravo, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Faf du Plessis stay in the wicket was cut-short by the Mumbai seamers.
While Malinga cleaned up Captain Cool, McClenaghan sent Bravo back with Lendl Simmons taking the catch. Faf – who walked in at number seven – lasted three deliveries before throwing his wicket away to Vinay Kumar.
The South African aimed to drive the ball over the extra cover but Rohit caught him easily. Among the Mumbai bowlers, McClenaghan picked up three wickets while Malinga and Harbhajan settled for two each. R Vinay Kumar picked a wicket too.
Earlier, Chennai won the toss and chose to bowl and much to their nightmare, the pair of Rohit-Simmons clicked and the duo went on a rampage. Mumbai crossed the 100-run mark in the first 10 overs with Simmons reaching his half-century in 35 balls. Parthiv (0) was unfortunate to be run out by splendid throw from Faf in the first over.
Simmons (68, 8X4, 3X6) – like he has been doing in the tournament – sliced, cut the ball and kept punishing the bowlers. Eden Gardens is one of those happy hunting grounds for Rohit (50, 6X4, 3X6) and he did not disappoint.
He started off with an upper cut off Mohit Sharma that crossed the fence and kept the scoreboard ticking at geometric progression. Soon, he gave himself room at hammered Ashwin for another big one.
The duo went on to add 119 runs for the second wicket before Rohit fell to Bravo. It was a slower offbreak which the right-hander failed to time with perfection and found Ravindra Jadeja at long on.
Simmons followed suit in the first ball of the next over. Smith got a break with the ball and he struck at the very onset. The Caribbean could not play the yorker from fellow compatriot.
Nonetheless, Kieron Pollard – who has been playing terrific cricket since the last few matches – came and took charge of the proceedings along with Ambati Rayudu. Even this pair added 71 runs off 40 balls for the fourth wicket.
Pollard (36, 2X4, 3X6) was unlucky to have gone for a half-volley off Mohit which was grabbed by Suresh Raina easily at deep cover. Hardik Pandya could not impress and went for a duck in the 20th over.
Rayudu remained unbeaten on 36 (3X6) after slamming three huge sixes including an AB de Villiers-like scoop, along with Harbhajan who was not out on 6 (1X6).
Bravo (4-0-36-2), once again, was the pick of the bowlers for Chennai. Mohit and Smith took a wicket each. Ashish Nehra, one of the success stories in the tournament, went for 41 runs in his four overs without a wicket.
Mumbai Indians: L. Simmons b Smith 68, P. Patel run out (du Plessis) 0, R. Sharma c Jadeja b Bravo 50, K. Pollard c Raina b Sharma 36, A. Rayudu (not out) 36, H. Pandya c Raina b Bravo 0, Harbhajan Singh (not out) 6. Extras (b-1, lb-4, nb-1) 6. Total (for five wickets in 20 overs) 202.
FoW: 1-1, 2-120, 3-120, 4-191, 5-191.
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-41-0, Sharma 4-0-38-1, Ashwin 2-0-21-0, Jadeja 2-0-26-0, Negi 2-0-18-0, Bravo 4-0-36-2, Smith 2-0-17-1.
Chennai Super Kings: D. Smith lbw b H. Singh 57, M. Hussey c J. Suchith b M. McClenaghan 4, S. Raina st Patel b H. Singh 28, M.S. Dhoni b Malinga 18, D. Bravo c L. Simmons b M. McClenaghan 9, P. Negi c Pandya b Malinga 3, Faf du Plessis c Sharma b V. Kumar 1, R. Jadeja (not out) 11, R. Ashwin c J. Suchith b M. McClenaghan 2, M. Sharma (not out) 21. Extras (lb-2, w-3, nb-2) 7, Total (for eight wickets in 20 overs) 161.
FoW: 1-22, 2-88, 3-99, 4-108, 5-124, 6-125, 7-134, 8-137.
Bowling: S. Malinga 4-0-25-2, M. McClenaghan 4-0-25-3, V. Kumar 4-0-39-1, H. Pandya 4-0-36-0, H. Singh 4-0-34-2.