Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga pulled things back for MI in the last two overs after Shane Watson’s late blitzkrieg threatened to take the game away. After Kieron Pollard’s fighting knock, MI bowlers were right on the money and successfully defended 150 to lift their fourth IPL title.
Rohit Sharma (2/10): After opting to bat first, the onus of posting a massive target was on Rohit Sharma’s shoulders. He got a much-needed fifty against the same opposition to regain some rhythm and was expected to go big in an all-important match, but it wasn’t to be. Rohit fell prey to Deepak Chahar’s knuckle-ball and his dismissal pushed MI on the backfoot. Perhaps, he could have waited for a couple of more overs before shifting gears.
Quinton de Kock (6/10): On a big night, Quinton de Kock set the stage with some explosive fireworks against the CSK pacers. The intent was clear - to go after the CSK pacers and set the tone for a massive target, but the southpaw floundered while playing one shot too many. A short ball from Thakur climbed onto him a little earlier than expected and resulted in his dismissal. Nevertheless, his 17-ball 29 gave the MI that perfect start in a big game like final.
Suryakumar Yadav (3/10): He peaked at the very right time after smashing a match-winning fifty in the first qualifier, but two wickets in quick succession tonight meant, he had to go defensive. After a cautious start, Suryakumar was shifting gears, which has also been a template for him this season, but a slight error cost him his wicket on a big night. Imran Tahir cramped him for room in while he attempted to dab the ball through third man but only played it on.
Ishan Kishan (3/10): In such a high-voltage game, nothing seemed to have gone the young Ishan Kishan’s way. He struggled to rotate the strike initially, which only created additional pressure. Although he played few beautiful strokes here and there to break the shackles, there was nothing of substance in between. His 26-ball stay out in the middle could only garner 23 runs, which is by no means substantial in a final. After enduring so much of time in the middle, Ishan had to make up for the dot deliveries with some big strokes against the leg-spinner Tahir, but that remained beyond the realms of expectations.
Krunal Pandya: (3/10): He was sent ahead to negotiate the leg-spin of Tahir, but didn’t quite manage to make an impact during his seven ball stay as a magnificent catch from Thakur off his own bowling ended his run on 7. With the ball, Krunal did a good job in his first two overs, but leaked runs in his third which made CSK the favourites. Whether it was a good decision or not to hand the ball to Krunal in the 18th over is debatable, a spinner was bound to get hammered against a well set Watson in such a situation.
Kieron Pollard: (8/10): This is exactly why you keep persisting with player like Kieron Pollard, who is a big match player. Pollard is like a rescue man, the moment MI find themselves in hot water, Pollard is the lifeguard. With wickets falling at regular intervals, Pollard stuck to his guns and played a gem of an innings to help MI post a respectable total. Although his drama, where he walked off while facing Bravo, halted the game for a minute, it only adds to the theatre. Nevertheless, Pollard engineered MI’s innings with some astuteness and justified his elevation ahead of Hardik Pandya.
Hardik Pandya: (5.5/10): The stage was perfectly set for another Hardik blitzkrieg, but one cannot expect someone to fire every single time. Hardik was lucky to have been dropped by Raina earlier, but didn’t quite manage to capitalise on it. He smashed a massive six in the same over, but fell prey to Chahar’s persistence in the next over. Hardik’s 16 off 10 gave MI the much-needed impetus, but the situation demanded a lot more. With the ball, it was surprising to see Hardik bowling just a solitary over where he conceded just three runs.
Rahul Chahar (8.5/10): That is exactly what IPL does - unearths hidden talents and gives them recognition. How does figures of 14 for 1 in 4 on a final night looks? Well, saying that it’s exceptional would be an understatement. Chahar pulled things back for MI when his peers were failing to put brakes on CSK’s run. He conceded just three runs in the first over and then got rid of Raina in the next to provide his side a much-needed breakthrough. In fact, this was the wicket that infused some momentum and self-belief in MI while defending such a modest total.
Mitchell McClenaghan (7/10): The left-arm pacer bowled with some heart and of course, raw pace. His first two overs were economical and almost got the wicket of Shane Watson in his third over, but Malinga’s misjudgement denied a wicket. After an erratic third one, McClenaghan bounced back in the fourth to finish with 24 for no loss.
Lasith Malinga (8.5/10): In a format like T20, small moments change the course of the game and Lasith Malinga would vouch for it. He only leaked runs in his entire spell, but when MI had just 9 runs to fight for in the final over, Malinga came out in flying colours. This was his experience that rescued the MI ship from choppy waters and handed them record fourth IPL title. 2 needed off the final ball, Malinga kept his composure and delivered a perfect slower one, when not many expected him to do so.
Jasprit Bumrah (8.5/10): Best T20 bowler for a reason! When Bumrah plays a T20 game, the overs are reduced to 16 overs for the opposition for the fact that it’s just difficult to hit him, especially in death. In this game, Rohit used him wisely and Bumrah didn’t leth his captain down. He did well to put CSK in a delicate situation by getting the better of Ambati Rayudu early and hardly gave away anything. His death bowling was again outstanding and did everything in his reach to steer MI to a commanding position.
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