IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians win thrilling but ill-tempered final against Chennai Super Kings
Mumbai bowler Lasith Malinga holds nerve in final over, trapping Shardul Thakur lbw on the final ball to give Mumbai a one-run win
Lasith Malinga was hoisted from the field on the shoulders of Kieron Pollard after bowling Mumbai Indians to victory in an exhilarating Indian Premier League final against Chennai Super Kings.
The Sri Lankan fast bowler, who has taken more wickets than anyone else in this tournament’s history, had been out of sorts for his first three overs in Hyderabad.
But he held his nerve in the thrilling last over, and he trapped Shardul Thakur lbw on the final ball to give Mumbai a one-run win over their regular foes.
It was a record fourth title for Mumbai, as they reclaimed the trophy CSK had seized from them 12 months ago, and a fifth in all for their captain Rohit Sharma.
As per usual, this IPL final was keenly anticipated. Ahead of the start, injured CSK player Sam Billings tweeted a message of support for his erstwhile colleagues, and termed the game “the El Clasico of cricket”.
Whether that was a reference to the occasion itself, or the particular match up, was unclear.
But these two teams have become just as familiar with each other as Real Madrid and Barcelona are with each other in Spanish football. This was, after all, the fourth time they have met in finals – and the fourth time this season.
There was plenty of evidence to suggest familiarity has bred contempt, too. IPL finals are supposed to be a celebration, but this one was often ill-tempered.
The angst was not necessarily player against player, per se. More, the umpires bore the brunt.
In the final over of the Mumbai innings, Pollard took guard to a ball from Dwayne Bravo outside the offside wide guideline, and then wandered off even further before the bowler was even halfway through his run up.
It was a surly response to being denied two wides outside that line by Nithin Menon, the umpire, already in the over.
He was given a dressing down by both umpires, Menon and Ian Gould, but appeared to give that short shrift.
Pollard vented his frustration out on the final two deliveries of the innings, driving both to the boundary rope with an intent that suggested he was trying to burst the ball.
That gave him a personal tally of 41 not out, and the team a competitive total of 149-8.
In 2013, Mumbai had made 148-9 in a final against the same opposition at Eden Gardens in Kolkata – and won that game comfortably.
They might not have been expecting to get close to a similar repeat as Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina took CSK to 70-1 in the 10th over.
But the wheels came off the CSK effort, with MS Dhoni and Watson – who top-scored with 80 from 59 balls – both run out at vital points in the run-chase.
“The team that panics less is going to come out on top,” Pollard said in his post-match television interview.
Rahul Chahar, at 19 the youngest player in the final, took 1-14 from his four overs of leg-spin for Mumbai, while Jasprit Bumrah took 2-14 from his, including a thrifty penultimate over.
“We always believed in our team, we stayed close as a unit, and it is a great feeling,” Bumrah said.
Updated: May 12, 2019 10:26 PM