Hyderabad: Mumbai Indians came through in a nerve-wracking finale to the 2017 IPL season, to win their third title, after defeating Rising Pune Supergiant by one run, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Sunday.
Mumbai, who had come into the final on the back of a string of wins in the league stage, surprisingly decided to bat first, despite the fact that they have won more games while chasing.
Captain Rohit Sharma would have immediately regretted this decision, as MI wickets kept tumbling one after the other, after Jaydev Unadkat (2-19) gave them a cracker of a start, removing openers Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons.
MI never really seemed to recover from this as Pune kept taking wickets at regular intervals, to stifle the MI run rate. Captain Rohit Sharma rallied around with hometown boy Ambati Rayudu, to put up a 33-run partnership.
However, Rayudu was brilliantly run-out by Smith, and Rohit Sharma fell to Adam Zampa, while trying to up the ante, leaving the lower order exposed.
Unlike the others, Krunal Pandya stuck around the crease, holding the innings together, as he notched-up a 50-run partnership with Mitchell Johnson, taking Mumbai's total to 129-8, as he perished on the last ball of the innings.
What seemed to be an easy target for RPS, turned out to be a nightmare, as the MI bowlers came out with a definitive plan to stifle the runs and take it to the end.
Pune looked to be comfortably in control for most part of their innings, despite the fact that the asking rate kept creeping up from around run-a-ball to 7s and 8s.
Ajinkya Rahane (44) gave them a good start, which was carried forward by Steve Smith (51). However, the Mumbai bowlers struck at the crucial moments, removing Rahane, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (10) at a time when Pune would ideally have been looking to accelerate.
However, Pune still looked to be within touching distance in the last over, with Smith and Manoj Tiwary at the crease. To make matters worse for Mumbai, Tiwary swept Johnson for a 4 off the first ball of the over.
However, the experienced Aussie paceman came back brilliantly. He removed both of Pune's in-form batsmen, first Tiwary, and then Smith off the next two deliveries, to bring Mumbai right back into the match.
For the first time in the match, Mumbai seemed to have the upper hand; and this was at a stage, when just three balls were left for the game to end.
In the end, Daniel Christian could not get Pune over the line, as Johnson stuck to his tight deliveries.
This win makes Mumbai a three-time IPL champion, a feat that has never before been achieved. Rohit Sharma also becomes the first captain in IPL history to win the competition thrice.
RPS: 128-6 from 20 overs
WICKET! As if anybody cares about the wicket that just fell. It was all about whether Christian and Sundar could run three, after the former struck it on the leg side. Clearly, not more than 2 runs were on, in that case, and Mumbai Get an easy run out off the last ball, to win the by just ONE run.
Boundary required off the last ball. Can Pune do it. Dan Christian, who is on strike can hit a few.
RPS: 123-5 from 19.3 overs
WICKETS! Incredible bowling by Johnson! He's on a hat-trick! Got Tiwary off the 1st ball, as the batter tried to slog a cutter, and got caught at long-on. Johnson got his countryman Smith off the very next ball, as the Aussie skipper slashed hard on the off side, only to find Ambati Rayudu in the deep. Rayudu, at deep backward point, was the only deep fielder on the off side.
Mitchell Johnson runs in to bowl the last over, and Tiwary sweeps him for a four. the pace on the Aussie left arm pacer's deliveries could actually do RPS some good.
RPS: 119-3 from 19 overs
Some quality bowling by Bumrah here.He's restricted both Smith and Tiwary to singles. Pune need to get some boundaries here. And Smith finds it! Smashes a half-volley outside the off stump over the long-off ropes for a maximum. That eases the pressure, but they need more like that. Smith follows that up with 2 runs off the last ball, to bring up his 50.
RPS: 107-3 from 18 overs
This is some tight bowling by Mumbai. the presence of Malinga in their bowling lineup is not doing them any harm at all. The Sri Lankan's inch-perfect yorkers are putting a lot of pressure on RPS. However, Smith, in his unique manner, shuffles across the crease, goes deep in his back foot, and flicks it past fine leg for a much-needed boundary. 7 off that over.
RPS: 100-3 from 17 overs
Its all happening out here in Hyderabad. Two successive lbw appeals by Bumrah against Manoj Tiwary turned down by the umpire. The first one was the more compelling one. The ball nipped back into the batsman after landing on the seam, and struck Tiwary on the pads. However, replays suggested that the umpire got his decision spot on, as the point of contact was marginally outside the off stump. the second appeal looked as though the ball was going to stray down the leg stump. Some top quality umpiring here.
RPS: 98-3 from 16.2 overs
WICKET! BIG WICKET! This is a huge wicket for RPS. Dhoni slashes at a Bumrah out-swinger, but only managed to edge it to Parthiv Patel behind the wicket. Manoj Tiwary, the next man to come out into the ring.
RPS: 97-2 from 16 overs
Dhoni slices, and he slices hard. He pierces the gap between gully and point to squeeze through a boundary. And Steve Smith also joins-in on the act. hits a massive six with a reverse sweep. This was a huge over for RPS. 14 runs off that one.
The required run rate has crept up to 9.4 runs per over.
RPS: 83-2 from 15 overs
Malinga is sending one yorker after another. He almost got Steve Smith with one that sneaked past his legs after deflecting off his bat. It whizzed just inches away from the stumps.
RPS: 77-2 from 14 overs
Four off that over from Krunal. Mumbai are not going to let this go easily. However, Pune have wickets in hand, and both Smith and Dhoni could turn up the heat at any moment.
RPS: 73-2 from 13 overs
Dhoni failed to pick a wrong one off Karn's bowling in the last ball of the over. The MI spinner went up in a desparate appeal, but the umpire just merely gave a nod of disapproval. That lbw appeal looked close.
The entire stadium bursts out into applause, as Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes in to bat.
RPS: 71-2 from 11.5 overs
WICKET! and Johnson finally gets the wicket that MI so desired. Rahane tries to play a lofted shot down the ground, but a change in pace does him in. Pollard did well to take a diving catch.
RPS: 65-1 from 11 overs
Krunal into the attack, but Rahane and Smith look well set now. They are picking the singles and the off boundary easily.
Rohit Sharma brings on Mitchell Johnson, presumably to get a wicket or two. However, this gives Rahane and Smith the opportunity to score some runs, as he barely takes the pace off the ball. He concedes eight runs from that over.
Required rate has crept up to 7.27 runs per over right now.
RPS: 50-1 from 9 overs
Mumbai are not letting this go without a fight. Their tight field setting, and disciplined bowling is doing them good here. Karn Sharma gives just 2 runs from that over.
RPS: 48-1 from 8 overs
Pune are taking it slow at the moment. Both Smith and Rahane are experienced campaigners, and realise the importance of not throwing away their wicket at this moment. Just 5 off that Bumrah over.
RPS: 43-1 from 7 overs
He might have a small target to defend, but Karn Sharma is tossing the ball right up, making it difficult for Smith and Rahane. Concedes only 5 from that over.
RPS: 38-1 from 6 overs
Malinga puts in another good over, but that does not seem to have troubled Rahane or Smith. They can take their time now.
RPS: 32-1 from 5 overs
Karn Sharma into the attack, and Rahane scores a wonderful boundary off him with a mere flick off the wrists off the back foot. 9 off that over.
RPS: 23-1 from 4 overs
Brilliant bowling by Malinga. His extra bounce surprised Rahane, who lobbed an easy catch for Krunal, who fumbled and dropped it. MI cannot afford to let such chances go. Good over by Malinga. Just 2 off it.
RPS: 17-1 from 2.2 overs
WICKET! Bumrah fires in the in-swinger, and traps Tripathi plumb on the middle and off stump line. Although it looked plumb on the naked eye, replays suggested that the ball may have been going over the stumps.
RPS: 14-0 from 2 overs
Pune are turning up the heat. Not only are they running well between the wickets, but they are also getting the odd boundary here and there. Eight off that Mitchell Johnson over.
RPS: 6-0 from 1 over
Krunal Pandya gets the MI bowling underway, and he is welcomed by Rahane with a cracking cover drive for a four. Even a diving effort by Pollard is not enough to save that.
MI: 129-8 from 20 overs
WICKET! Christian is sending in the slower yorkers, but Krunal smashes one on the half volley, as the ball sails over the bowler's head, and crashes into the sightscreen. The southpaw triesto slog another one off the last ball, but he top-edged it this time, asRahane took an easy catch.
MI: 115-7 from 19 overs
Krunal has decided to go for it. Unadkat pitches one up, and the former swings his bat with all he's got, to send it deep into the stands. 10 off that over.
MI: 105-7 from 18 overs
Mitchell Johnson finally breaks MI's boundary duck. Plays a mis-timed pull shit, edging it high over Ajunkya Rahane at long-on, for a maximum. That helps them bring up the 100-run mark in the innings. Krunal also chips in with a boundary towards deep backward point.
MI: 92-7 from 17 overs
Unadkat puts in a good over. Just six off it. They have not hit a boundary in quite some time, and the pressure is building.
MI: 86-7 from 16 overs
Its getting very difficult for MI now. They are not finding the boundaries, and the RPS fielders are diving all over the place as well, trying to stifle the singles as well. Just 5 off the Christian over.
MI: 81-7 from 15 overs
The look of despair on Rohit Sharma's face tells it all. The MI captain sits distraught in the dugout, while wickets tumble one after the other. The fall of wickets has also encouraged Smith to get two slips into place, as RPS try to finish things off.
MI: 79-7 from 14.1 overs
WICKET! Confusion all around. Karn Sharma gets a thick outside edge off Shardul Thakur's bowling, but Daniel Christian fails to latch on to the ball. However, he recovered well to hurl it back at the stumps, as Shardul continued his run-up, to collect the ball, and whip off the bails, as a confused Karn failed to get back to his crease in time.
MI: 78-6 from 13.2 overs
WICKET! Daniel Christian keeps it straight, as Pandya plays for the out swing. the MI all-rounder completely missed the ball, and got trapped lbw.
MI: 76-5 from 13 overs
And Hardik gets into the act straight away, lofting Zampa over the covers for a gargantuan six. They need more of this, now.
So Mumbai's fate depends on the two Pandya brothers, right now. Can Krunal and Hardik turn things around?
MI: 65-5 from 11 overs
WICKET! It seems like an MS Dhoni tactic has worked wonders here. Pollard plays an uppish drive on the half volley straight back over the bowler's head. However, Manoj Tiwary was placed right in front of the sight screen, as the ball goes straight down his throat.
MI: 56-4 from 10.1 overs
WICKET! Zampa gets the big wicket! This is a huge blow for MI. Rohit goes for th big slog on the leg side, but only managed to find Shardul Thakur in the deep. Thakur did well to take that catch, very close to the boundary ropes.
MI: 50-3 from 9 overs
Adam Zampa gets in another good over. Just three off it. MI need to get their act together soon. RPS look like they are running away with the match here.
MI: 41-3 from 7.2 overs
WICKET! Rayudu drives on the off side, and dashes off to steal the single. However, Smith was alert at mid-off, and did well to get in a direct throw at the stumps. Ambati Rayudu was miles away from his mark.
MI: 41-2 from 7 overs
Rayudu also gets into the act, as he smashes the young Aussie spinner for his first boundary of the night. Nine off that over. MI are starting to pick up the pace.
Adam Zampa into the attack.
MI: 32-2 from 6 overs
Rohit gets some of the momentum back for MI, by smashing four boundaries against Lockie Ferguson. That would have released some of the pressure. RPS had bowled 18 dot balls till now. That's essentially 3 overs without a run...in the powerplay, no less. Brilliant bowling by Pune.
MI: 16-2 from 5 overs
RPS look pumped up for the contest tonight.Their fielders are diving all over the place, trying to save every run they can. Steve Smith certainly has infused the Aussie spirit into this team. Shardul Thakur bowls yet another tight over for them. Just 5 off that one.
MI: 11-2 from 4 overs
MS Dhoni is still the master behind the wicket. Sundar beats the outside edge of Rayudu by inches, but the former India skipper was ready to whip off the bails in a flash. However, replays suggested that Rayudu's foot was just inside the crease. Third Umpire calls NOT OUT!
MI: 8-2 from 2.4 overs
WICKET! Brilliant bowling by Unadkat! He rolls his fingers over the ball once again. Like Parthiv, Simmons also failed to read the change of pace, and got a thick edge on the ball, as it flew down the pitch. Unadkat did well to take a one-handed diving catch.
MI: 7-1 from 2.1 overs
WICKET! Unadkat starts with a slower short delivery, but Parthiv failed to read the change of pace. He lobbed his pull shot straight to Shardul Thakur at mid-on.
MI: 7-0 from 2 overs
Three back-to-back dot balls, before Parthiv steers him away on the off side, for 2 runs.
Smith goes for Washington Sundar to open the bowling again. He comes in for the second over.
MI: 3-0 from 1 over
A cautious start by Mumbai, as Simmons takes three dod balls before getting off the mark on the 4th, steering theball on the leg side with soft hands. Three runs off that first over,
Its Jaydev Unadkat, who will get the IPL 2017 final underway, tonight.
Rising Pune Supergiant XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (c), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk), Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Lockie Ferguson, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa
Mumbai Indians XI: Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma (c), Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Rohit Sharma has won the toss, and has decided to bat first. Interesting decision, as MI have won most of their matches while chasing, this season.
Preview: Its D-Day! After a long and arduous cricketing season, we have finally arrived at the title-decider, as Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant gear-up to face each other, in what promises to be a cracker of a Maharashtra Derby at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Sunday.
It is safe to say that both Mumbai and Pune have been the two best sides this season, in the IPL.
The two teams have played some brilliant cricket over the course of the season, with Mumbai coming out as the leaders of the league stage, while RPS finished second. However, Steve Smith’s side has gotten the better of Rohit Sharma’s side on all of their three encounters.
RPS have really proven to be a bogey side for an otherwise invincible Mumbai Indians, and it will be interesting to see whether the latter can get their revenge in this grudge-match....