Mumbai maiden lights up the night at Eden
And you thought T20 cricket is loaded in favour of the batsmen! Lasith Malinga was on a hattrick in his first over, S Badrinath barely managing to dig out the ball swinging into him with a thick outside edge. Michael Hussey, the man who CSK coach Stephen Fleming said provides the glue to their innings, was gone, his furniture disturbed by a Malinga yorker and in the one ball Suresh Raina lasted, he showed his problem with the rising delivery isn't history.
When Mitchell Johnson got Badrinath in the innings second over, the Chennai Super Kings' score read 3/3. The Mumbai Indians were 8/2 around that time of their innings. At 36/5 when Ravindra Jadeja stupidly holed out, the most consistent team in the Indian T20 league was looking a lot worse off chasing 149 for their third title.
Somehow, it was fitting that a competition that began here with a wicket off the first ball — Brett Lee producing a peach that Unmukt Chand couldn't pick — ended with the bowlers making the most telling contribution.
But at a venue where Sunil Narine terrorised for over two editions of the competition, spinners finished wicketless for Super Kings, skipper MS Dhoni not even giving Ravichandran Ashwin his full quota of overs.
Instead it was Dwayne Bravo, Chris Morris and Mohit Sharma who bowled their full quota. And it was Malinga and Johnson who did most of the early damage for Mumbai Indians. In all, 15 of the 18 wickets went to fast bowlers. Only Pragyan Ojha completed four overs.
By the fourth over, Mumbai Indians had lost three wickets and it needed Kieron Pollard's sledgehammer blows — once even the bat followed the ball to mid-on — to get them to 148/9. Pollard ended the innings with two massive sixes off Bravo, who finished with four wickets, giving the Mumbai Indians' score some respectability. But considering that 165 was easily overhauled on this wicket two days earlier, it didn't look enough. Then, the glorious uncertainties the game's famous for took over.
Having once folded for 79 against this team, CSK managed 125/9; skipper MS Dhoni's lone act of defiance (63; 45b; 3x4; 5x6) possibly as much a message to his batsmen who couldn't handle the pressure of battling a disciplined bowling attack as a champion's refusal to give up.
After five fruitless attempts, Mumbai Indians finally got their money's worth. At the midnight hour, a new champion was crowned.
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