This IPL season, Chennai Super Kings had won all their matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium until Mumbai Indians came along. CSK batted first after MS Dhoni won the toss. CSK have the kind of batsmen, who capable of weighing down their opponents by mounting big scores and come back later with restrictive bowling and super ground fielding. It is not for nothing that CSK have remained a force to reckon with in every IPL season since its inaugural edition. On Friday, they began with Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith and reached 44 in the fifth over. But once they lost McCullum, the gate opened for the Mumbai Indians. They got rid of Suresh Raina Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis and CSK were reduced to 104/4 in the 16th over. Mumbai failed to keep the pressure as skipper Dhoni and Pawan Negi collected 54 runs in the remaining balls and CSK ended their 20 overs at 158/5. It wasn’t a big score but as the match progressed, CSK could still put pressure on Mumbai despite the 84-run opening stand. Ravichandran Ashwin and Dwayne Bravo brought the MI’s scoring rate down and it became difficult for the visitors towards the end. With the asking rate shooting up to 12 runs an over, CSK looked like taking another match on their home soil. Then in a do-or-die act in the 19th over from Pawan Negi, Mumbai Indians belted 25 runs, which included three towering sixes from Hardik Pandya. After that Mumbai needed two more balls of the 20th over to settle the issue. While it was Mumbai’s fifth victory on the trot, Chennai suffered their lone loss at home this season.
Opting to bat first after the toss, CSK made a strong start but when the score reached 44 in the fifth over, Brendon McCullum fell in trying to clear the boundary. Hardik pandya was the lone man in the deep midwicket and he brought off the catch with aplomb. McCullum’s departure slowed things down as MI applied pressure through Harbhajan Singh and Suchith. Two more wickets fell in the space of 4 balls. Tied down for long, both Suresh Raina and Dwayne Smith found Hardik Pandya in the deep to make it 65/3 in the 10th over. MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis added 39 runs for the fourth wicket but du Plessis was out to a superb leaping catch by Simmons at short fine leg. The South African was attempting a flick on the leg-side but got his timing wrong. As the slow-paced lob flew out of du Plessis’ bat, Lendl Simmons jumped up and held a well-judged catch. CSK, however, revived their innings after du Plessis’s departure as Dhoni was joined by Pawan Negi. In the 17th over, Negi hammered three fours off Marchant de Lange and with Dhoni also launching an attack, CSK finished their 20 overs at 158/5.
Going for the victory chase of 159, Mumbai began with an 84-run opening stand in ten overs. But Ashwin disturbed the applecart by removing both openers in the 11th over. Mumbai also lost Kieron Pollard in the 12th and the steam went out of their chase. As the pitch helped the spinners, sharp fielding cut off singles and runs became difficult to come by. With Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu struggling, the asking-rate rose alarmingly. With frustration creeping in, Rohit Sharma fell to a lofted shot that was nicely held by Suresh Raina at long-on. Now MI required 30 off the last two overs. For the 19th over, Dhoni called Pawan Negi. That probably was a tactical error as new man Hardik Pandya blasted three sixes of Negi’s first four balls and brought relief and cheer to Mumbai fans. In the 20th over, Rayudu scored another six and Mumbai Indians completed their fifth consecutive victory.