Image courtesy: iplt20.com
The 2019 edition of the IPL comes to its closure on Sunday with the final hosted at Hyderabad being played by two foes whose rivalry has become fabled over the years of the tournament. Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians are undoubtedly the two most successful sides in the IPL’s history, with each team looking to capture a historic fourth IPL title. Chennai has historically been the most dominant side in the IPL’s history, having appeared in 8 finals, 3 of which they have won.
However, the one team that CSK has a poor record against are the Mumbai Indians, with 12 wins in the fixture to Mumbai’s 17. Mumbai have won the trophy 3 times as well, but have lost only one final till date, and that too to CSK in 2010. However, they have beaten Chennai in the 2013 and 2015 finals. Dubbed the “El Clasico” of the IPL by none other than Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma himself, Sunday shall unveil a new chapter in the rivalry of the two teams. Here, we take a look at some of the most memorable contests between the two:
1) IPL 2010 Final, Venue: Navi Mumbai - CSK beat MI by 22 runs
MoM: Suresh Raina (57*)
The 2010 final at Navi Mumbai could well be taken as the starting point of the rivalry between the teams. It has been the most closely contested final among the two, as well as the only one Chennai won. Bolstered by a well-made 57 by vice-captain Suresh Raina, Chennai posted a par total of 168. MS Dhoni’s astute captaincy and usage of the spin trio of Muralidharan, Ravi Ashwin and Shadab Jakati ensured not even the iconic Sachin Tendulkar could see Mumai through. With a spin trio again at his disposal on Sunday, it will be this previous final that Dhoni would be keen to revisit.
2) IPL 2011, Match 25, Venue: Mumbai - MI beat CSK by 8 runs
MoM: Harbhajan Singh (5/18)
One of the three spinners at Dhoni’s disposal would be veteran Harbhajan Singh, who donned the Mumbai colours for quite a long time. Bhajji’s lethal spin proved to be the death-knell for Chennai in this nail biter from 2011. Batting first, Mumbai scored 164/4 in their 20 overs, with Rohit Sharma powering his way to a 48-ball 87. Chennai seemed poised to win before some tight bowling saw them needing 30 runs off 3 overs with half the side out, but Subramaniam Badrinath looking dangerous. Bhajji then bowled a lethal 18th, picking up 3 wickets that turned the match around. Badrinath’s heroics in the final over could only propel his team to 156, as Chennai lost by 8 runs.
3) IPL 2012, Match 49, Venue: Mumbai - MI beat CSK by 2 wickets
MoM: Dwayne Smith (24*)
Possibly the closest encounter in history between the two sides, this nail-biter from 2012 saw Dwayne Smith turn the match on its head for Mumbai in his first match of the season. In the second innings chasing 174, Mumbai looked to have it under control with Sachin (74) and Rohit (60) at the crease, before a stunning middle-order collapse that saw 4 batsmen depart for 0. All seemed over when Hilfenhaus dismissed Malinga with 3 balls to go and MI needing 14 more. But the Windies batsman Smith had other ideas, smashing a six followed by two boundaries to take his team home with an astounding late knock of 24 off 9 balls.
4) IPL 2015, Match 43, Venue: Chennai - MI beat CSK by 4 wickets
MoM: Hardik Pandya (21*)
Yet another match turned on its head at the death, this one is unique because of a rare error in captaincy from MS Dhoni. Defending 158, Chennai seemed to have the game in the bag with the spinners putting on a show. Dhoni decided to stick with his spinners at the death too, and gave the ball to the inexperienced Pawan Negi with the set Ambati Rayudu and the maverick Hardik Pandya at the crease. Negi, who had gone for 10 off his first 3 overs, conceded four sixes in the penultimate over, including 3 successive ones from Hardik. The final over was rendered an afterthought as Rayudu finished with a 19-ball 34 and Hardik with an 8-ball-21 that announced his arrival to the top tier of world cricket.
5) IPL 2018, Match 1, Venue: Mumbai - CSK beat MI by 1 wicket
MoM: Dwayne Bravo (68)
The most recent thriller between the two teams, this match showcased the brilliant T20 skills of yet another man who has played for both outfits, Dwayne Bravo. Chasing 166, Chennai seemed down for the count amidst a batting order collapse after Kedar Jadhav was forced to retire hurt with an injured hamstring. However, with 47 needed off 3 overs, Bravo unleashed a stunning assault, first scoring 20 off Mitchell McClenaghan’s 18th and then another 20 off the penultimate over by Jasprit Bumrah to put Chennai in sniffing distance. However Bumrah had the last laugh dismissing the Jamaican off his final delivery to take CSK’s 9th wicket, turning the tables once again. In an epic twist, Kedar Jadhav returned to face Mustafizur Rahman’s final over with 7 runs needed, and smashed a four and a six off consecutive deliveries to win it for the Super Kings with one ball and one wicket to spare.
The drama of this match was unparalleled, and cricket fans will be in a treat if Sunday’s final comes close to this one.