Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Deepak Chahar IPL 2019 final
(From left) Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and Deepak Chahar (AFP Photo)

Mumbai Indians edged past Chennai Super Kings in a last-ball thriller to lift the IPL trophy for a record fourth time to become the most successful franchise in the league’s 12-year history on Sunday night.

MI and CSK delivered a perfect finale to the season with no clear favourites till the final ball was bowled. Here we look at the major talking points from the Sunday night classic.

CSK strangle MI after explosive start

MI had raced to 45 for 0 in 5 overs before both Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma fell in quick succession. Deepak Chahar was belted for three sixes in his second over – two from De Kock and one from Rohit. However, Dhoni persisted with the pacer and asked him to bowl the final Powerplay over. The move paid rich dividends. Chahar, with a slower one got rid of Rohit in a wicket-maiden over. That over resulted in a slowdown as MI managed just 13 runs between overs 6 and 9. Theb Dwayne Bravo’s variations and Harbhajan Singh’s tight bowling never allowed MI to break the shackles even though Ishan Kishan did try his bit with three boundaries.

Pollard gets MI respectable total after bizarre protest

With the middle order falling to CSK’s spin, it was once again left to Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard to bail them out of trouble. Hardik survived a drop catch from Suresh Raina when he was batting on four. But he managed 12 more before falling to Chahar who finished impressive figures of 3/26. With wickets tumbling at one end, Pollard was the saving grace. He smoked Imran Tahir for two sixes and despite refusing a double off the first ball of the final over and an umpiring error of missing a wide, Pollard struck two boundaries of the last two balls to give MI something to defend. He was unbeaten on 41 off 25. He was irked by the umpire though when Nitin Menon ruled in favour of Bravo who bowled wide thrice in a row after spotting Pollard taking guard outside the off-stump. Pollard displayed his protested by taking guard off the pitch before being reprimanded.

Sloppy MI let Watson get away

Centurion in the previous IPL final, CSK opener Watson topscored again for CSK but was dropped thrice – first by Lasith Malinga when on 31, then by Rahul Chahar – a caught and bowled chance on 42 and finally on 55 by Chahar again, this time at deep square leg. How costly those drops could have proven was evident when the Australian hammered Malinga for three fours in the 16th over and lofted Krunal for a hat-trick of sixes in the 18th pushing CSK closer. MI though finally managed to dislodge him – via run-out in the final over.

Dhoni dismissal – turning point?

After Raina and Watson had added 40 for the second wicket, MI came back strong with Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah getting Raina and Rayudu out. With a well-set Watson and in-form MS Dhoni in the middle, MI weren’t going to be sitting comfortably. Then came the moment which eventually was termed as the turning point by MI mentor Sachin Tendulkar and coach Mahela Jayawardene. It was the 13th over of the chase and the manner of his dismissal must have left Dhoni mighty disappointed. Hardik bowled a short delivery and Watson gloved it to short fine leg fielder Malinga. He set off for a quick single. The run was completed without fuss as Malinga fired the throw towards the bowler’s end. An overthrow resulted and Dhoni thought of sneaking back for a double. Ishan Kishan picked up the ball at mid-of and hit the bullseye. To the naked eye, Dhoni was home. But replays showed the CSK captain might have not made it. After repeated replays, the benefit of doubt went in the fielding team’s favour.

Malinga rises from the Ashes

Malinga didn’t have the best of the night. He was taken to the cleaners by Watson. The Sri Lankan pacer’s first three cost MI 42 runs including one in which Bravo and Watson ransacked 20 runs. That should have been the end of the night for Malinga. But Rohit, taking a leaf out of Dhoni’s book of captaincy, kept his faith. And put him on the firing line, again. He was asked to defend 9 off the final over. And he did not disappoint. With two runs needed off the final delivery, Malinga pinned Shardul Thakur in front to have him lbw. MI stole a one-run win to become champions for a record fourth time.