Hardik Pandya’s sensational last over blitz, in which he smashed two sixes and a four off Dwayne Bravo and his three wickets, which included MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over, proved to the difference-maker as Mumbai Indians got their IPL 2019 campaign back on track with a magnificent 37-run win over Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede stadium on Wednesday. The win was Mumbai Indians’ 100th in the IPL, the first team to achieve this feat and they not only subjected Chennai Super Kings their first loss in IPL 2019, they increased their superior head-to-head record against Dhoni’s side to 15-12 in IPL encounters.
The clash between the two three-time IPL champions was dominated by Pandya’s two game-changing moments. The right-hander had come out to bat at a time when Mumbai Indians had scored 125/5 in 18 overs. Hardik signaled his intentions by mauling Shardul Thakur for a 97-meter six over deep midwicket and Kieron Pollard followed him with a six over deep midwicket. Having hit 16 in the 19th over, Mumbai Indians fancied a score in between 150-160.
In the 20th over bowled by Dwayne Bravo, normally a composed bowler, the entire game changed. Pollard launched a monstrous six off a no-ball which notched up Mumbai Indians’ 150 but the last three balls faced by Hardik made the difference. The fourth ball was a yorker from Bravo but Pandya hung back in the crease and unfurled a Dhoni-esque helicopter shot over deep midwicket. The fifth ball was a full and wide ball which Hardik thumped over deep cover but the final ball of the innings displayd Hardik’s class as he carved a full ball over square third man.
Hardik’s 25 runs off eight balls and 45 runs in the last two overs, including 29 in the last over, had changed the momentum towards Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings were left reeling.
Chasing 171 on a wicket which provided extra bounce and zip, Chennai Super Kings made a disastrous start when Ambati Rayudu (0) was caught by a sharp short ball from Jason Behrendorff. Lasith Malinga struck in the next over when Shane Watson (5) cut a short and wide ball only for Kieron Pollard to take a leaping catch at point.
Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav started off in aggressive fashion, with Raina thumping a six and two fours off Behrendorff while Jadhav flicked a six and a four to fine leg off Malinga. However, Chennai Super Kings were dealt a blow when Raina (16) cut Behrendorff to deep backward point only for Pollard to take a stunning catch leaping backwards and holding onto the ball with one hand near the boundary.
Jadhav kept finding the boundary on a consistent basis, smashing three fours in an over bowled by Jasprit Bumrah but MS Dhoni struggled for timing and failed to find the boundary. The partnership went past fifty but Hardik changed the game again, this time with the ball. Bowling the 15th over of the innings, Dhoni needed to step up a gear and he charged down the track to Hardik. However, the bowler spotted it and banged a short ball close to Dhoni’s body cramping him for room. The Chennai Super Kings captain had no choice and he limply pulled to square leg to end on 12 off 21 balls. When Ravindra Jadeja fell in the same over, the game was up for Chennai Super Kings.
Jadhav hit a fifty and Dwayne Bravo hit a six but it was all in vain and Chennai Super Kings failed to come near Mumbai Indians’ score, which at one point did not look possible after a struggle in the middle overs.
Chennai Super Kings inserted Mumbai Indians in and they immediately found success with Deepak Chahar getting the big wicket of Quinton de Kock (4). Suryakumar Yadav came in and struck five boundaries in two overs to get Mumbai Indians going. Following the end of the powerplay, Ravindra Jadeja sent back Rohit Sharma (13) and Imran Tahir dismissed Yuvraj Singh (4) with Ambati Rayudu taking a catch close to the long off boundary.
Suryakumar continued to fight and despite a scratchy start from Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians continued to make progress. Krunal got going with two boundaries off Mohit Sharma and he received some good fortune in the next two overs. In the 13th over bowled by Bravo, he was dropped by Mohit at mid off and in the next over bowled by Shardul Thakur, he was given out LBW but managed to overturn it on review. Krunal punished Chennai Super Kings by launching Tahir over long on for a six. Despite mishitting plenty of shots, Krunal slammed two boundaries off Mohit Sharma before being dismissed for 42.
Suryakumar notched up his sixth fifty and when he perished for 59, it seemed Mumbai Indians would fail to put up a good score but that was the time Hardik changed the game. With news emerging that Bravo has suffered a hamstring injury, Chennai Super Kings have plenty to ponder for their next game against Kolkata Knight Riders while Mumbai Indians will be hoping that this win establishes a winning consistency in this tournament.