Can anything match the superiority of the game of cricket when played in this fashion? Who would have imagined that the IPL 10 that kicked off on April 5 last month would keep the fans on its toes till the last delivery of the tournament? I suppose, no one.
It looked like a Bollywood director had written the script of this game as till the last ball, there was a suspense that brewed. Game was moving like a pendulum and in the end, it was the experience of Mitchell Johnson that worked for Mumbai and they lifted the IPL cup for the third time in history.
The way Pune was batting till the middle overs, it looked like they will take away the cup but Mumbai forced their way back in last five overs, to hand Pune the biggest upset, in probably their last stint in IPL.
There many highlights during the game, as at one point, it looked like Pune is favourite in the game, whereas, in another second, Mumbai were the favourites.
At the climax, it was the Mumbai side that held the nerve to win the cup. Here are few of the highlights that have witnessed during the game –
The opening curse – Having a strong opening partnership in any format of the game is essential, especially in the final of a tournament. Mumbai, who emerged as the table toppers was hoping for a turnaround this time, as in previous three contests, Pune had dominated them.
Skipper Rohit Sharma was having hopes on his opening pair of Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons to get a good start for the team but what happened on the field was a big disappointment.
Both the openers viz Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons were back in the third over of the game when Mumbai was yet to touch the two figure mark. First, it was Parthiv Patel to go who was caught by Shardul Thakur off Jaydev Unadkat’s delivery. At a distance of just one run, another blow awaited, as an acrobatic Jaydev Unadkat caught Simmons of his own bowling, just a few inches above the ground to give the second jitter to Mumbai and sent both the openers of back in the pavilion in the third over of the game.
The middle stumble – For once, it looked like Ambati Raydu and Rohit Shama have recuperated the Mumbai batting when they shared 33 runs for the third wicket but a run out followed by a running catch from Shardul Thakur, comprising of tap dancing on the boundary ropes, which ended Rohit’s innings and also Mumbai’s hopes to get a big score. With this wicket, Mumbai was four down with a score of 56 in 10.1 overs.
Krunal hero to zero – Had Krunal Pandya not played an inning of 47 for his side, we could have seen an early end of the IPL final but the all-rounder showed his worth to keep afloat the sinking boat of Mumbai.
At the start, he shared small partnerships with other batsmen but during the end stage of the innings, Pandya shared 50 runs with Mitchell for the seventh wicket, which was pivotal for Mumbai to put up a total of 129 on the board, which erstwhile couldn’t have been possible. Pandya was the hero of the night for Mumbai with that innings but he had tough times as well.
Krunal, who was the hero for the side soon let down his team, as he dropped an easy catch of Ajinkya Rahane at covers, who was on a score of 14 at that time. The wicket could have been a big bonus for them, as Pune had already lost an early wicket in form of Rahul Tripathi and if Rahane would have also walked back to the pavilion at that time, Mumbai would have jumped back in the game at that point of time only.
The continued decline – 56 runs were needed by Pune in the last 30 deliveries. Dhoni was on strike and skipper Rohit Sharma, who had a long meeting with his players during the strategic time-out handed the ball to Pandya to rescue. Just two good deliveries and then we witnessed a decline of Krunal, as the bowler was first smashed for a four by MS Dhoni and later by a switch hit from Smith followed, which nearly pulled the game towards Pune side, as the difference was brought down to 33, whereas, run-rate also slashed down to 8.33.
Miser Bumrah and Saviour Johnson, Mumbai lift IPL Trophy – Two overs left and 23 was the score Pune needed more to win. Bumrah was handed the penultimate over, the most important one. After bowling first four brilliant deliveries, he faltered and was hit for a six on the second last ball that was a disappointment for Mumbai but barring that, Bumrah was right on the money and kept it tight.
The game was down to last over and out came Mitchell Johnson, who has not been in best of the form in this tournament till that last over of the game.
The last six deliveries were befitting to the stage at which game was, as after being welcomed with a four, the retired Australian legend dismissed Manoj Tiwary and Steven Smith on consecutive deliveries to register a comeback for Mumbai.
Just five runs from the last three deliveries and Mumbai was crowned as the winner of the IPL for the third time, winning the finale by a mere margin of just one run.
Johnson, who never really was the main man for Mumbai did the job for the team to keep Pune away from a win and help his side win IPL trophy for the third time.