posted on 2019-05-08 08:15:18
posted by Karthik Raj
Credits- Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians comfortably qualified for the IPL final on May 12 by beating Chennai Super Kings at the latter's fortress, the Chepauk. This win was designed and delivered by Mumbai's spinners as the trio consisting of Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav restricted Chennai to just 131. Later on, Suryakumar Yadav engineered a perfect chase to help Mumbai reach their 5th IPL final.
On a rare occasion, Chennai failed to read the pitch laid out at the Chepauk and in that process, they failed to defend their fortress. The fact that Chennai failed against Mumbai Indians wasn't as surprising though, as Mumbai were the only side to beat them this season at this venue. Additionally, Mumbai also have an outstanding overall Head-to-Head record against Chennai. Out of the 28 matches that the two teams had played against each other before this match, MI had won 16 while CSK had 12 wins to their name. But surely, Mumbai wouldn't have gone with this record in mind as it could have bred complacency amongst the team. While Mumbai can boast about being three-time champions of the IPL, Chennai can also do the same with the southern side also possessing 3 IPL trophies.
So like any other match, Mumbai would have prepared earnestly and chalked out all their plans for this encounter against Chennai at the Chepauk. Rohit Sharma made one change from their previous game against KKR with Jayant Yadav coming in place of Mitchell McClenaghan. This change wasn't overtly surprising considering the usual nature of the tracks at Chennai. Further, when MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat, Mumbai might have received an additional boost. On a tricky pitch, teams tend to prefer chasing as it would help the batsmen to understand the nature of the pitch and chase the target accordingly. So, Dhoni's decision to bat first raised a few eyebrows as it gave Mumbai an early advantage.
But then again, on a track that assists spinners so much, Mumbai's spin trio had a big role to play in restricting Chennai to a gettable total. Their responsibility was not just to contain the runs but also cause damage to the opposition by picking up regular wickets. And they did that to perfection with Rahul Chahar playing the key role. While the 3 spinners bowled beautiful line and lengths, the purchase provided by the wicket was really astonishing. The pitch behaved like a 5th-day track with the ball turning square from the word go. This was exploited by Mumbai's captain Rohit Sharma by bringing on all the 3 spinners early on. While Krunal bowled a testing 2nd over, Rahul Chahar came on in the 3rd over and immediately struck gold by removing the relatively in-form Faf Du Plessis. While it wasn't exactly a great delivery, Faf Du Plessis still failed to control his cut shot and gave a simple catch to the man at backward point. The huge turn and extra bounce combined to create a problem for Du Plessis on that occasion.
Next, Chennai's favourite Suresh Raina walked in. With his ability to play spin well, Raina was expected to anchor the inning for CSK but he departed in the very next over bowled by Jayant Yadav. Raina attempted an ill-advised hoik across the line and the ball ballooned up in the air to be eventually caught by Jayant Yadav himself. Soon enough, Watson fell off the last delivery in the Powerplay as he tried to flat-bat a ball from Krunal Pandya with Jayant taking a beautiful catch at mid-on. After that, Murali Vijay and Rayudu played sensibly for a while without taking any risk and built up a useful partnership. But yet again, the sprightly Rahul Chahar came back into the attack and gave Mumbai a crucial breakthrough in the 13th over. Vijay, who had batted confidently until that point, fell to a ball that can be termed as a dream delivery for any leg-spinner. The ball from Rahul Chahar drifted into Murali Vijay and then turned a huge amount as De Kock made a tough stumping look easy. It was then in the hands of CSK's talisman MS Dhoni along with Ambati Rayudu to recover and finish the innings with a boost.
But barring a couple of lusty blows each against Jayant Yadav and Lasith Malinga, Dhoni and Rayudu couldn't do much more on a tough wicket. This was mainly down to Bumrah's outstanding death bowling. While the spinners choked the opposition, Bumrah ensured that CSK don't get away in the end overs as they usually do with the heroics of MS Dhoni. This ensured that CSK were restricted to a total of 131. Having learned from Chennai's mistakes, Mumbai then constructed a sensible chase with Suryakumar Yadav scoring a brilliant 71*. Ishan Kishan also helped Suryakumar Yadav with a handy 28.
In the end, while this might seem like an all-around victory for Mumbai, the major credit has to be given to Mumbai's spinners for setting up the match in favour of the team. Rahul Chahar, in particular, delivered yet another brilliant spell in what has been a brilliant season for him. Mumbai Indians will be hoping for one more similar performance from Rahul Chahar and Co in the all-important final.