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By Bharath Ramaraj
May 10, 2014
In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 game played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Mumbai, the match had its fair share of spills and thrills, before Chennai won it by four wickets. It was MS Dhoni, who provided the finishing touches by smashing a sixoff Kieron Pollard in the last over of the game. The track that was holding up a little bit made sure that Chennai’s batsmen struggled to up the ante, while chasing down a modest target of 158 on the board. Mumbai’s key bowler, Lasith Malinga‘s burst right at the end made it interesting, but they perhaps were 15-20 runs short of a winning total. It was their first win against Mumbai on their homes turf.
Even Dwayne Smith, who has been in prime form in IPL 7 struggled to find the boundary with ease. Those red-lightning shots were surely missing from his bat early on in his innings. He finally smashed the experienced, Harbhajan Singh for a six with a hoick across the line. Chennai also were not helped by two decisions going against them and that too it went against their key players, Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina.
Once Smith thwacked a towering six off Harbhajan though, Chennai’s batsmen opened up their shoulders with some big hits. Faf du Plessis took advantage of Corey Andersen’s medium pace bowling by smashing him for a six. Smith followed it up by hammering Praveen Kumar for a six with another agricultural hoick across the line. Smith then reached his fifty in 49 balls. His slowest fifty in this year’s IPL, before getting out to P Kumar’s bowling caught by Lendl Simmons at deep mid-wicket.
For Mumbai, Harbhajan bowled well during the middle overs of the game, and two close decisions didn’t go his way during the 13th over of the game. He to some extent used the track that was helping him to his advantage. Malinga then, snared the wicket of MS Dhoni with a slow yorker. He could have got Ravindra Jadeja’s wicket too, but the umpire turned down an lbw appeal perhaps citing that there was an inside edge. Other bowlers tried their best.
Earlier, Mumbai, despite losing a single wicket during the first 10 overs of the innings stuttered a bit. Chennai’s spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled tight overs to keep the opposition ranks on tenterhooks. Even the seamers in their line-up bowled with good control. Among the seamers, Mohit Sharma was the best bowler on view. It eventually led to the dismissal of the opener, Lendl Simmons, who was caught by Faf du Plessis on the boundary line off the bowling of Ashwin for a well-measured innings of 38. It finally meant that Mumbai could get 157 for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 20 overs and that too on their home turf.
Actually, Chennai’s spinners went through their overs very quickly and that didn’t help Mumbai’s cause, as their batsmen didn’t have much time to settle down at the crease and up the ante against parsimonious bowlers. Even someone like Rohit Sharma known for playing shots wasn’t able to get things going. Kieron Pollard too lost the plot and got out early.It was left to Ambati Rayudu to play fine strokes to at least take them to a fighting total on the board. Corey Anderson chipped in with a few hefty blows right at the end.
Chennai’s fielding though, was a bit of a letdown. Samuel Badree dropped a catch off Ambati Rayudu at deep third man and there were also mis-fields. du Plessis though, made up for it with a fine piece of fielding at long-off to prevent a six. However, they would have been happy with their bowling effort.
Mumbai Indians 157 for 6 in 20 overs (Lendl Simmons 38, Ambati Rayudu 59; Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 30, Mohit Sharma 1 for 26) lost to Chennai Super Kings 160 for 6 in 19.3 overs (Dwayne Smith 57, Faf du Plessis 31; Lasith Malinga 2 for 15, Praveen Kumar 2 for 31) by 4 wickets.
Man of the Match: Dwayne Smith
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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