Home > Cricket > DLF Indian Premier League Final Match Report

DLF Indian Premier League Final Match Report

The world’s biggest and most glamorous cricket tournament reached its conclusion today as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings took on Sachin Tendulkar and the Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

A much anticipated match between arguably the best bowling attack in the competition (Mumbai) and the best batting side (Chennai) was preceded by a closing ceremony with enough razzmatazz to put the Super Bowl to shame. Lasers flashed all around the stadium and hovercraft floated above the playing surface. Bollywood beauty Bipasha Basu performed a dance that looked more suited to Beyonce and Indian music legend and two-time Grammy award winner A R Rahman gave a rendition of his global smash hit Jai Ho. Once all that was over and done with, the cricket could begin.

The big talking point going in to the game was whether or not Sachin Tendulkar would play after injuring his hand in the semi-final. Shortly before play was due to begin, it was announced that he was to play and so he contested the toss with Dhoni. Many felt the toss would be crucial for a match being played on a track with a tendency to deteriorate as the game progresses and so it was Dhoni who drew first blood as he correctly called heads. As expected, he chose to bat first. Tendulkar seemed unperturbed and said to Ravi Shastri that he felt the Indians would win as long as they played well.

The final started in a somewhat subdued manner with the first two overs producing few runs. In the third, the match sparked in to life as Harbhajan Singh had a strong appeal for lbw against Matthew Hayden turned down by umpire Rudi Koertzen. Replays showed it looked to be hitting middle and off but the South African did not raise the finger. If this was the injury, the insult came off the next ball as Hayden smashed a six over long off. Hayden survived another lbw appeal in the following over, this time off the bowling of Zaheer Khan, but this looked like a more optimistic appeal as it seemed to be going over the stumps. Hayden and Murali Vijay continued to score, albeit at a leisurely rate and at the end of the powerplay overs, the Super Kings were 40-0.

Mumbai were bowling well, containing the Chennai batsmen without looking like taking a wicket. All of that changed in the 8th over as Dilhara Fernando bowled a good slow ball which Murali Vijay could only hit straight to a boundary rider, Saurabh Tiwary. Hayden fell in the next over as he edged Kieron Pollard to wicket-keeper Ambati Rayudu, bringing his unusually sedate innings to an end for just 17 runs off 31 balls. The loss of these two wickets halted any momentum that Chennai had built up and at the half-way stage of their innings they were 58-2.

The slow scoring continued in to the 12th over and feeling the pressure to score quick runs, Subramaniam Badrinath decided to cut loose. He was, however, only successful in hitting a Fernando delivery straight in to the hands of Lasith Malinga at fine leg. With Chennai now three wickets down and in need of some runs, up stepped Captain Marvel, MS Dhoni. One sensed at this point that the partnership between the two men now at the crease, Dhoni and Suresh Raina, would make or break Chennai’s innings and so it proved.

Dhoni vigilantly saw off the first three deliveries he faced before showing his intent on the fourth as he hammered a quite remarkable one-handed shot in to the stands for six. It resembled a baseball shot more than a cricket one but Dhoni is anything but orthodox. His arrival at the crease seemed to give the Super Kings a shot in the arm and he, in tandem with the impressive Raina, steadied the ship and continued to score runs through a combination of good placement and quick running. Then, in the 15th over, came a pivotal moment in the match. Raina attempted to slog Khan over Cow Corner but only succeeded in skying it. Surely somebody would catch it? Maybe not. There was a complete lack of communication between Fernando and Abhishek Nayar who both seemed to leave it to each other and the ball landed between the two of them. Khan was apoplectic and his mood was not improved by the fact that Raina proceeded to plunder 17 runs from the remainder of the over. In the following over, Raina had another huge let-off and this time it was Khan himself who was the culprit as he failed to take the catch off the bowling of Kieron Pollard. Again it proved costly as the next ball disappeared for 6, as did one a couple of deliveries later. By the end of the 16th over, Raina had moved on to 44 from just 22 deliveries. Mumbai appeared to be pressing the self-destruct button but in the 18th over, they did manage to remove the dangerous Dhoni (c Fernando b Khan) who had quietly amassed 22 off just 15 balls. This brought Albie Morkel to the crease and Chennai continued to score freely, reaching 150 with 7 balls remaining. Although Morkel was run out in the final over, Chennai still managed 11 runs from it to finish on 168-5 with Raina finishing unbeaten on 57 from just 35 balls. Interestingly, 110 runs came off the final 10 overs, suggesting that the wicket was not deteriorating as much as expected. 168 looked a good score as many experts believed par to be around 150. Mumbai now had it all to do.

Mumbai’s innings got off to a poor start as Ashwin bowled a maiden in the first over. Poor then turned to disastrous as Shikhar Dhawan edged a Doug Bollinger delivery to Dhoni behind the stumps leaving the Indians on 1-1. This brought Abhishek Nayar to the crease and he and Tendulkar knew that they had to score runs but also that they could not afford to lose another quick wicket. Things nearly got even worse for Mumbai as Tendulkar was nearly run out when Anirudha shied at the stumps but narrowly missed. Replays showed that a direct hit would have had Tendulkar heading back to the pavilion. Chennai were showing plenty of intensity in the field and there was another narrow escape for Mumbai as Muralidaran’s throw at the stumps just missed with Nayar well short of the crease.

Sensing the required run out was starting to get out of control, Tendulkar looked to hit boundaries and hit back to back fours in the 6th over, the second of which was a glorious textbook cover drive. Despite these boundaries, the Indians had only managed 33 runs off the powerplay overs. If Chennai had been pedestrian in the first 6 overs, Mumbai were virtually standing still.

Nayar then decided that it was time to cut loose and hit consecutive sixes in the ninth but just as he looked to have played himself in, he tried for one run too many and was promptly run out after smart work by Dhoni. Mumbai were now struggling at 67-2 after 11.2 overs and so many were surprised when Harbhajan Singh came to the crease. His stay did not last long as just 4 balls later, he was given out lbw by Koertzen off the bowling off Raina. It looked a tad high and replays confirmed this, but to be fair to the South African umpire it was marginal. Harbhajan’s dismissal brought Ambati Rayudu to the crease and the plan seemed to be for him to hit out whilst Tendulkar anchored the innings. The two seemed to be building a useful partnership when disaster struck in the 15th over. Having just hit a beautiful four on the leg side off Shadab Jakati, Tendulkar holed out to Murali Vijay on the boundary at long off. The Little Master had played with painkilling injections and stitches in his hand. His knock of 48 off 45 deliveries was, under the circumstances, highly respectable but he will be disappointed with the manner of his dismissal as he pulled out of the shot at the last second which caused it to land right in the palms of Vijay’s hands.

The big question now was whether the big hitting Trinidadian Kieron Pollard would come in. With the best strike rate in the IPL and Mumbai in desperate need of some quick runs to keep their championship hopes alive, surely he would be the perfect man to bring in? The Indians’ coaching staff evidently disagreed and opted for Saurabh Tiwary instead. He only lasted two balls after a sensational low diving catch on the run by Suresh Raina off the bowling of Jakati. Everybody awaited the arrival of Pollard. They instead got JP Duminy who, like Tiwary, failed to make an impact, falling victim to Muralidaran for just 6.

Now Pollard came to the crease and the fireworks started. Mumbai needed runs quickly and Pollard was not about to disappoint. A wild swipe off the first delivery he faced saw a thick top edge fly over Dhoni’s head and run away for four and this was followed by a huge 6 which was later measured at 107 metres. The boundaries continued to flow and in no time at all, Pollard had smashed 22 off just 6 balls, begging the question of why he had not been sent in to bat earlier. Off the penultimate ball of the penultimate over, Pollard went for a second run that was never there. Instead of running Pollard out, Rayudu unselfishly sacrificed himself by ensuring that Pollard made the ground first but it was ultimately in vain as Pollard drilled the next ball to Matthew Hayden who was the straightest mid-off you will ever see, standing almost directly behind the bowler. Pollard’s cameo brought 27 runs off just 10 deliveries and one cannot help but wonder what might have been had Mumbai sent him in to bat earlier. The Indians’ chances of winning went with Pollard and they were unable to get anywhere near Chennai’s total, eventually finishing on 146-9.

Mumbai may have been the best team throughout the tournament but they paid the price for dropped catches today. The match winning innings came from Suresh Raina who was dropped twice and made the most of his good fortune, hitting 57 off just 35 deliveries. Chennai were losing finalists in 2008 but deserved winners today and they will no doubt enjoy their hard-fought victory.

For full match scorecard visit iplt20.com

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