A protagonist of six Indian Premier League (IPL) finals, even Suresh Raina admitted that the recently-concluded final between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant where the former defeated the Pune-based outfit by just a solitary run, was the best IPL final so far.
Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians were staring down the barrel after both of their openers- Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons- returned to the hut with just 8 runs on the board. Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu then calmed down the nerves in the dressing room with a steady partnership but just when it looked the duo had got a measure of the things, Rayudu was run out for 12 runs. The Rohit Sharma-led side kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and were in a huge spot of bother after being reduced to 79 for 7 in the 15th over before being bailed out by Krunal Pandya.
The left-handed batsman waged a lone battle from one end and scored 47 runs off 38 balls to steer his side to a respectable 129 for 8 in the allotted overs. He shared a 50-run stand with Mitchell Johnson to give his side something to defend.
In reply, Pune began poorly with Rahul Tripathi departing after scoring just 3. However, the Pune-based outfit was looking well-set to chase down the total when Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith added 54 runs for the second wicket before the former was dismissed for 44.
With 47 runs needed off the last 5 overs and Smith and MS Dhoni on the crease, Pune were looking the favourites to win the title-decider. 14 runs in the next over turned the match more in Pune’s favour but the tie turned on its head when Jasprit Bumrah conceded just three runs in the 17th over and most importantly dismissed the dangerous Dhoni. And when Lasith Malinga conceded just 7 runs in the 18th over, Mumbai were well back in the game.
And Mumbai’s hopes of winning the match only elevated when Bumrah conceded just 4 runs off his first four balls in the penultimate over before Smith hit a six and took a couple to bring down the equation to 11 runs from the final over. The match was looking as good as over when Manoj Tiwary hit a four off the very first ball of the 20th over bowled by Mitchell Johnson but the former Australia bowler dismissed Tiwary and Smith on his next two deliveries to derail Pune’s chase. The equation finally came down to 4 runs from the last ball but Dan Christian managed to score just 2 as Mumbai edged out Pune by just one run to win the thriller.
After the match, Raina took to Twitter to express his feelings and also lauded Rohit Sharma for his brilliant captaincy.
“Wat a match best final in IPL so far great captaincy under pressure @ImRo45 so so so close #IPLfinal #RPSvsMI #IPL2017 #MUMBAIINDIANS #BCCI,” the Gujarat Lions skipper tweeted.
— Suresh Raina🇮🇳 (@ImRaina) May 21, 2017