Every time the Chennai Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians, you would feel as if an India Pakistan match is going on. The thrill and tension of a CSK vs MI game are unparalleled and the fans consider this rivalry very serious. For the first time, we witnessed a clash between these titans without many expectations. Reason? Both the teams are trailing at the bottom of the table in this year's IPL.
Nevertheless, as the champions lock horns for the first time in the series, there is some attention to it always. Thursday's match was hosted by Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai and the Chennai Super Kings won the toss and chose to bowl first. Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan opened the innings for Mumbai only to end it soon. Both of them were dismissed for a duck. Suryakumar Yadav gave some hope to the batting order scoring 32 runs but it was Tilak Varma to steady the ship.
He scored a half-century when his team needed him the most and was dismissed for 51 runs in 43 balls, with 3 fours and 2 sixes. With ample support from Hrithik and Unadkat, the Mumbai Indians ended their innings with a respectable total of 155 runs in 20 overs by losing seven wickets. The CSK were poor on the field as they dropped too many catches and it was vivid that had the men in yellow done well in the fielding, Mumbai could have been restricted to a much lower score.
Chasing a not-so-difficult target, Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed on the very first ball. Santner was promoted up the order but he was dismissed soon. With an awry opening, the pressure was on the CSK's batting line and Uthappa and Rayudu kept the momentum by playing valuable knocks and they had scored 30 and 40 respectively. At one point, CSK lost 6 wickets for 106, still needing 50 more runs. Pretorious joined MS Dhoni and showed a real fight, scoring 22 runs from 14 balls. When he got out, the only hope left was Dhoni. The CSK needed a mammoth 17 runs from the final over.
After the wicket of Pretorious, CSK required 16 runs off 4 balls. A six and four back to back from MS Dhoni changed things dramatically and everyone were on the edge of their seats. 2 runs from the 5th delivery meant that they needed 4 runs from the last one. And, it was a four! Dhoni finished it off in style, yet again and proved he was the best finisher that no one can dispute. It was surreal as well as vintage stuff from the master that enabled the CSK to clinch their second victory in this series. For the Mumbai Indians, the sad story continues as it is their 7th consecutive loss.
CSK had chased the score in the last ball and they had lost seven wickets in what otherwise would have been an easy chase if the top batting order of CSK had delivered a promising opening stand. Through the victory, CSK had added two more points though their standing remains intact while Mumbai is scripting a history of embracing the seventh loss in the row for the first time in the IPL. For his best bowling figure of 19/3 in three overs, CSK's Mukesh Choudhary was awarded the Man of the Match.
For the thrilling finish, MS Dhoni has been celebrated by the cricket fans and while addressing the post-match presentation ceremony, CSK's Dwaine Pretorius said, "He (Dhoni) is the master at finishing. Did it again tonight. Wanted to go for that scoop shot in the first over. He asked me to wait. Then I asked him again and he said go for it. Working on my bowling. Glad to contribute to a win for my team."
CSK captain Ravindra Jadeja said, "We were very tense the way game was going. But the great finisher of the game was still there, so we knew we had a chance. He's still here and doing it for us. Yes, he (Mukesh) has bowled well up front and done well for us in the powerplay. If you aren't winning games, you still want to be calm." Commenting about the catches that he dropped, Jadeja said, "It happens, that's why I never take fielding for granted and practice hard. We need to work on our feeling, can't afford to drop catches."
Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma said, "In the end, it was a great fight from us, we were in the game after not batting well, the bowlers kept us in, but in the end, you know how towering MSD can be and he took them home. It's hard to put a finger on anything, but we are not starting well in the match. If you lose quick wickets, you'll always be playing the catching game. But I thought we did well to keep them under pressure. We did so until the last over, but Pretorius and Dhoni took them home. We always back ourselves to do well, but as I said, we lost too many early wickets, we did make a good comeback with both bat and ball, but it wasn't enough in the end."