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IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians find men for every moment

It was tough though. Against the most tactical team in the tournament, Mumbai Indians’ rapidly swinging fortunes underlined the highs and lows experienced by every player.

cricket Updated: May 14, 2019 15:14 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL 2019,Mumbai Indians,MI
Mumbai Indians' Lasith Malinga, right, and teammates celebrate with the trophy after their win over Chennai Super Kings in the final cricket match of VIVO IPL T20 in Hyderabad, India, early Monday, May 13, 2019(AP)

Players may win you a match but it takes a team to win a championship. No other franchise has practised and perfected it better than four-time Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians. That and the art of staying calm, no matter how nerve-wracking the situation, has helped Mumbai Indians lift the trophy twice with one-run wins. Like in 2017—against Rising Pune Supergiants—this too couldn’t have been pulled off without a team effort.

It was tough though. Against the most tactical team in the tournament, Mumbai Indians’ rapidly swinging fortunes underlined the highs and lows experienced by every player. Like Jasprit Bumrah, who set up a riveting finish by conceding just four runs in the 17th over.

ALSO READ: Bumrah reacts to Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘world’s best bowler’ praise

MI’s go-to bowler

He has been MI’s go-to bowler this season but his fielding has been mediocre at times. Ask Rahul Chahar, who watched helplessly as Shane Watson swept him straight to Bumrah at short fine-leg, but the pacer let the ball go through his legs for a boundary. That was the only four Rahul Chahar conceded in a stifling spell of 4-0-14-1.

Similarly, Bumrah can now laugh off the mess Quinton de Kock made of collecting his last delivery of the 19th over, gifting four byes. If not for De Kock’s rambunctious start though—hoisting Deepak Chahar for three sixes—Mumbai would have probably been staring at a lower total. De Kock and Rohit Sharma paved the way for Ishan Kishan to consolidate and build a partnership in the middle overs with Suryakumar Yadav, but Kishan’s aggression brought about his dismissal. However, he more than made up for that disappointment by knocking over the stumps from mid-off with MS Dhoni falling short of the crease by inches. That was a game-changing moment.

The first sign of Mumbai’s resilience came through Kieron Pollard’s innings of 41. Once again Pollard showed he is their man for all seasons. Partner-in-crime Hardik Pandya wasn’t around for long but Pollard ploughed on, hitting the last two balls for boundaries that gave Mumbai’s innings a huge fillip.

ALSO READ: IPL season review: Drama, Debate, Destiny- Same pattern, different elements

Unimpressive

Mitchell McClenaghan—brought in place of spinner Jayant Yadav—too couldn’t impress with the bat, but surpassed expectations by finishing with an economy of six, compounding the pressure on Chennai Super Kings. Krunal Pandya had a rough night as well, scoring just seven and leaking 20 runs in the 18th over. But it was his presence of mind, bowling full and wide, which ensured a stumping that saw the back of Faf Du Plessis, who had raced to 26 from 12 balls.

His brother had a phenomenal season, aggregating 402 runs and 14 wickets. But his 13th over—the only over he bowled in the final—was the icing on the cake, yielding only three runs and Dhoni’s prized wicket going for a second run due to the pressure Shane Watson brought upon himself by repeatedly trying to pierce the gap between gully and point. If Hardik hadn’t been so tight, the run out may not have materialised.

What about Rohit Sharma and Lasith Malinga? When the IPL’s best bowler plots with the most successful captain, magic happens.

That slower ball to Shardul Thakur was trademark Malinga, but at a juncture least expected. “I kind of understand where he wants to hit, so we decided together that we’ll go for that slower option, because knowing Shardul, he would try to play a big shot and there was a chance he might just sky it. Again, it could’ve gone either way, he could have just middled the ball and it could have cleared the ground also. At that point you have to be brave and take those crucial decisions,” Sharma explained.

They couldn’t have gone wrong. Such courage is almost always rewarded.

First Published: May 14, 2019 09:46 IST