In what turned out to be a controlled all-round performance, Mumbai sailed into the IPL final by comprehensively beating Chennai Super Kings. Beginning with Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel’s solid opening partnership that followed Kieron Pollard’s sledgehammer batting, Mumbai finished with a challenging 187/6 at the end of 20 overs. When Chennai came on to chase 188, they suffered from an atrocious LBW decision by umpire Richard Illingworth in the first over. Dwayne Smith had prepared for a leg side shot and the ball would have certainly left the leg stump but Smith got unlucky. Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina pulled on until the 6th over, when Hussey got out. Mumbai bowlers kept CSK on a tight lease despite Raina and Faf du Plessis trying their best to get out of the hole. In the 11th over, Harbhajan Singh took out Raina and Dhoni off successive balls and CSK drifted again. du Plessis’ 34-ball 45, Bravo’s 15-ball 20 and R Ashwin’s 12-ball 23 were not enough in the end as Mumbai bowled out Chennai in 19 overs to enter their third IPL final.
The crowd at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium couldn’t have been happier to watch the home team playing the qualifier of IPL 2015. Such an eventuality could not have been conjured until 48 hours ago. But after the conclusion of Sundays’s last league matches, Mumbai had taken the second place in the reckonings and they played against table toppers Chennai. Rohit Sharma chose the batting option after winning the toss because the Wankhede pitch appeared full of runs. Rohit was justified as Mumbai openers got off to a good start scoring 48 in the power-play session and looked ready for more. Earlier Ashwin and Nehra had tried to slow things down but afterwards, Patel and Simmons played commandingly and sensibly to compile 90 for the first wicket in the 12th over. After Patel got out for 35 off 25 balls, Rohit Sharma added 19 off 14. Though Simmons fell as the second wicket after a power-packed 65 off 51 balls, Mumbai were on course. Simmons departure had brought Kieron Pollard out in the middle and he lost no time to begin his blast. Before the West Indian got out, he had contributed 41 off 17 balls with 5 massive sixes and Mumbai finished their 20 overs at 187/6.
Chennai faced some bad luck in Lasith Malinga’s first over, when Dwayne Smith was adjudged leg before wicket to a full toss that struck him on the pads but looked like leaving the leg stump. Brendon McCullum has already left India and CSK felt his absence since the older Hussey is not in the same league as the mercurial New Zealander. Regardless, CSK carried the score to 46 in the sixth over before Vinay Kumar had Hussey nicking him to Patel. Faf du Plessis kept one end going but Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni fell to Harbhajan Singh in the 11th over. Dwayne Bravo denied the hat-trick to Harbhajan but dropped by the bowler on his last delivery of the 11th. In the 14th over, du Plessis holed out under pressure to long-on, where Vinay Kumar caught him of the bowling of Jagadeesha Suchith. In the 15th over, Bravo was run out from a smart work by Parthiv Patel, who hurled the ball at the bowler’s end even as Jadeja and Bravo were attempting a tight second run. CSK had only managed 126, in the 16th over, when Pawan Negi was also caught in the deep to yield the 7th wicket to Mumbai. Jadeja and Ashwin raised CSK’s hopes by collecting some quick runs towards the end but Jadeja fell in the 18th over and Ashwin in the 19th. For the second successive match, Mumbai bowled out their opponents and CSK’s innings folded at 162 to give Mumbai a 25-run convincing victory.
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