In cricket, as the famous saying goes it is never over till the last ball in delivered. Something on similar lines happened in Sunday's nail-biting IPL final between Rising Pune Supergiants and Mumbai Indians. All die hard Pune fans had a big smile on their face when Mumbai Indians folded out for a paltry 129.
At the half way stage, it looked that Steven Smith's team is all but certain to clinch their maiden title, having to chase down a below par score at Hyderabad.The Pune think tank looked to have a strategy in place to keep wickets intact and make a steady progress towards the chase.
However, there was a twist in the tale as Mumbai Indian bowlers came up with a spirited performance at the business end of the match and turn the tables on Pune in a cliffhanger of a final.
For winning a final a captain has to think out of the box and come up with something exceptional to unsettle their opponents. Kudos to Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma in outplaying Rising Pune Supergiants with some brilliantly crafted tactics.
Here are the major reasons how Mumbai turned around a final which at one stage looked pretty out of their grasp
Spin Prowess - Karn Sharma given the nod ahead of Harbhajan Singh in the finals
The selection of Karn Sharma ahead of the veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh in the playoffs and the grand finale paid off rich dividends for the team. Karn Sharma's bowling exploits in the Qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders made him the go-to choice for Rohit Sharma in the title clash. Sharma went for an attacking option in Karn Sharma rather than the seasoned Harbhajan Singh who looked more like a defensive option Karn Sharma once again cast a web around the top order by not only choking the run flow but also pegging their run chase with two crucial. Karn Sharma wasn't afraid to give the ball air and bowled attacking lengths to keep the Rising Pune Supergiants top order guessing.
Krunal Pandya - Lone Warrior in an otherwise dismal batting display
Mumbai Indians went into the finals with some a middle order that was pretty up and down all season. With skipper Rohit Sharma and old workhorse, once Ambati Rayadu again failing to hold the fort, it came down to the destructive lower order to bail the team out of trouble and post a respectable total.Krunal Pandya's knock of 47 was worth its weight in Gold as it resurrected the Mumbai innings that was falling like a pack of cards and moreover gave the bowler something to bowl at.
Bumrah and Malinga - Death Over Specialist
Rising Pune Supergiants had the chase pretty much under control at the midway stage of their innings. With 70 odd runs required from the last 10 overs, Mumbai needed a spirited performance from their formidable pace attack who had been among the wickets all through the season. Rohit Sharma played a master stroke by holding back Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga for the death overs. With the Pune batsman not getting a move on, it came down to 50 off the last 5 overs. Bumrah then produced an exceptional spell of bowling by digging in the yorkers deep. Bumrah was partnered by 'Slinger Maling'a who used all his valuable experience to choke the run flow at the other end. Eventually, Bumrah scalped the prized wicket of MS Dhoni which proved to be the game-changing wicket.
Rising Pune Supergiants casual approach - A rather defensive approach to chasing a gettable target
With 130 to get in the finals, Rising Pune Supergiants looked rather defensive in their chase from ball one. Ajinkya Rahane and captain Steve Smith forged a good partnership to build a strong foundation for their run chase but they never showed any positive intent to step up the run rate.
The casual approach put pressure on the batsmen to follow who found it hard to accelerate on a pitch which aided both seam and spin.With Bumrah and choking the run flow towards the end of the innings, Pune would have kicked themselves for not chasing down with four wickets in the kitty.