As the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings took the field for a warm-up session before the closing ceremony commenced there was no sign of Sachin Tendulkar.
It sent panic waves among the packed stands. Even though they incessantly chanted his name, there was no sign of him. Was a
hand injury going to force Tendulkar to miss the all-important final?
As they were biting their nails after joining AR Rahman in singing "Jai Ho", they finally saw him. And the nation's heartthrob, wearing the Orange Cap, walked to the crease with the team sheet in his hands.
But the fans had no real reason for last-minute worry, as the decision to play Tendulkar was made on Sunday morning. The master, with five stitches on his right hand as a result of split webbing, had a 90-minute session at the indoor facility of the Mumbai Cricket Association's academny at Bandra-Kurla Complex. And once he could go on for the duration of a Twenty20 innings, it was clear that he wasn't going to warm the bench in the evening.
However, even Tendulkar's presence was not enough for the Mumbai Indians to lift the IPL trophy. Despite Tendulkar's 48 the Mumbai Indians fell short of the victory target of 169 by 22 runs.
Thanks to a middle order failure, MI left Kieron Pollard with too much to do. When the burly batsman too guard, MI needed 55 runs to win off 18 balls. Even a 10-ball 27 wasn't enough to see his team home.
In the end, it was the catching that proved to be the difference between the teams. The two reprieves that MI offered to Suresh Raina cost the home team dearly as Raina cut loose to help CSK add 110 runs in the last 10 overs. While Abhishek Nayar and Dilhara Fernando waited for each other to go for the dive on the first instance, Zaheer Khan made a mess of a top edge off the next opportunity to dismiss Raina.
CSK, in contrast, caught everything that came their way. Raina was especially spectacular, running in from the deep to take a fantastic diving catch.
It was indeed third-time lucky for the Chennai Super Kings, who had endured the heartbreak of losing a tight final in the first edition and making it to the final four last year.
They played consistently good cricket this year, and finally were rewarded with triumph in the final.
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