Mumbai Indians are known to implode in pressure-like situations. But the Chennai Super Kings seem to bring out the best in them. Before Saturday, they had breached the two-time champions' fortress the most among eight teams and held a 6-5 win-loss record.
The nine-run win, which gave Ricky Ponting's men their first success in two matches, looked unlikely at the half-way mark. But Ponting used his bowling resources well and despite MS Dhoni's belligerent 51 (26b, 5x4, 3x6), Mumbai kept their nerves.
After he had, as skipper, plotted the Mumbai top order's downfall by opting for a conventional bowling strategy — read pace — Dhoni the batsman threatened to complete the task. Even as other batsmen struggled in pursuit of 149, Dhoni came out with all guns blazing.
Dhoni looked set to finish off when 12 was required in the last over off Munaf Patel, but just failed to clear the boundary as Keiron Pollard put in a perfect leap to pluck the ball out of thin air. It was only apt that Pollard had taken the most important catch of the match, after his unbeaten 57 (38b, 4x4, 5x6) had scripted Mumbai's recovery.
Earlier, Mumbai seemed to be playing into Dhoni's strategy and they had paid for it. Dhoni's method at his den has been tried and tested, bring in his prime bowler R. Ashwin as early as possible and restrict the flow of runs.
On Saturday, he introduced Ashwin only in the 12th over and by then Mumbai were 79 for 5.
Had it not been for Pollard's knock and his unbroken 48-ball 65-run seventh wicket stand with Harbhajan Singh (21 n.o), Mumbai Indians would have been in much more worse position.