Legendary former Indian captain proved that he still has some cricket left in him as he finished off the most unlikely of chases for Chennai Super Kings, something he has done on innumerable occasions in the past. MS Dhoni scored 16 off the last four balls as CSK secured a victory over Mumbai Indians. Chennai will also be glad that they are bucking up in this edition of the IPL, notching up their second win in seven matches after losing their first four on the trot.
The Super Kings put up a splendid display with the ball to restrict MI to a modest 155/7, following which their batting suffered some early jitters. The innings recovered, with the likes of Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu getting them back on track before another twist awaited CSK. However, MS Dhoni managed to get 16 runs off the last four balls.
Mumbai Indians’ horror to the ongoing Indian Premier League season continued as Rohit Sharma’s men stunningly managed yet another loss, making it seven defeats in as many games for the record champions. Their top-order failed to deliver yet again, with both openers falling for ducks. Both wickets were claimed by Mukesh Choudhary, as he became the first Indian to dismiss both openers of a team for a duck in the tournament’s history.
Choudhary also got rid of Dewald Brevis cheaply, putting his side firmly on top. Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Verma both looked to rebuild the Mumbai innings after their initial collapse, but the former’s dismissal in the eighth over following an excellent start put a spanner in the works. Debutant Hrithik Shokeen did a decent job, playing a run-a-ball 25 with Verma at the other end.
Tilak and pacer Jaydev Unadkat accelerated in the final few overs, scoring 35 in the last 15 balls as Mumbai reached a respectable yet easily gettable score of 155 to give their bowlers at least a fighting chance at victory.
The Chennai innings did not get off to the best of starts either, as opener Ruturaj Gaikwad fell for a golden duck to left-armer Daniel Sams. CSK’s move to promote Mitchell Santner up the order did not work exactly according to plan, but the Kiwi spinner was able to score a couple of boundaries to jump-start the Chennai innings before being dismissed.
Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu utilised their experience to the fullest, playing responsible innings, as they kept Chennai in the game throughout their stay in the middle. Uthappa, however, fell just after the fifty partnership was brought up, before Shivam Dube, skipper Ravindra Jadeja, and the set Ambati Rayudu all departed in the space of a few overs to throw the game wide open once again, as scoreboard pressure mounted on CSK. Sams was the destroyer-in-chief, picking up four wickets in an excellent spell.
Pretorius and the maestro MS Dhoni were dealt a difficult hand in the middle, with 50 runs to get in the last 25 balls of the innings. Dhoni, like his usual self, was circumspect in the beginning, as he encouraged the South African to play the big shots. The equation came down to 28 in the final two overs, when Pretorius smashed a couple of boundaries off death overs expert Jasprit Bumrah, who also bowled a few good deliveries, bringing the equation down to 17 in the last over.
Pretorius was trapped in front of the first ball of the over, making a Chennai win quite the farfetched endeavour. Dwayne Bravo could only manage a single off the second ball to hand the strike over to the master, with 16 needed off the last four balls. Dhoni smashed a huge six off the third ball, followed by a boundary to make it six needed in two deliveries. A double off the penultimate ball meant that the pressure mounted on the veteran needing a boundary off the last ball. However, Dhoni’s nerves of ice meant that he pierced the gap between fine leg and square leg to bring up a famous victory for the Yellow Army.
It was disappointment yet again for Mumbai, who could only manage another defeat, their only result so far, halfway into the tournament, making qualification a farfetched dream. However, a revitalised Chennai could potentially have set the ball rolling after two good wins in their last three games.
Chennai Super Kings 156 for 7 (Rayudu 40, Dhoni 28*, Sams 4-30) beat Mumbai Indians 155 for 7 (Varma 51*, Suryakumar 32, Choudhary 3-19, Bravo 2-36) by three wickets