Chennai take last-ball win in dead rubber
Chennai Super Kings 173 for 8 (du Plessis 52, Malinga 5-32) beat Mumbai Indians 167 for 7 (Karthik 74, Hilfenhaus 2-14) by six runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Around 5pm on an overcast evening, an enthusiastic crowd at the Wanderers were faced with the prospect of a washout. This, after what was supposed to be the marquee Saturday night match involving teams featuring some of the world's biggest Twenty20 stars turned into a dead rubber as Lions qualified for the semi-finals earlier in the day, knocking out both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. They were glad they stayed behind, though, as the widely predicted thunderstorm stayed away paving the way for a last-ball finish in one of the highest scoring matches of the tournament with Super Kings walking away victors.
It was hard to believe that the match was so closely contested given the stark difference in the starts the two teams had to their innings: Super Kings motored to 86 for 0 in eight overs, while Mumbai had stumbled to 38 for 2 after eight.
The contrast was mainly due to the different stages in which the teams used their best fast bowlers. Lasith Malinga took two key wickets in the 11th over - of the fluent Faf du Plessis and the dangerous Suresh Raina - and two more crucial ones in the 17th - of MS Dhoni, who was showing glimpses of the big-hitting that first made him a star, and of the renowned finisher Albie Morkel. After being caned for 16 in his first over, Malinga took 5 for 16 in his remaining three to rob the second half of Super Kings' innings of momentum.
Super Kings, instead, gave their most potent quicks the new ball. Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger justified the strategy of using two of their overseas slots on specialist fast bowlers, as the pair smothered the Mumbai openers. Despite Dinesh Karthik slog-sweeping Ravindra Jadeja for 19 in the 11th over, the Super Kings' bowlers seemed to have done enough early on to secure a comfortable victory.
It certainly seemed that way when Ambati Rayudu swiped a long hop from du Plessis straight to deep square leg in the 14th, but the contest was back on after Karthik and Kieron Pollard lashed 24 in the 18th over, leaving 27 to get in the final two overs. Dhoni stuck to the policy of giving the side's best bowler the 19th over, and Hilfenhaus delivered by removing the rampaging Karthik.
With 19 required for Mumbai in the final over, Super Kings shone again in the one department in which they were clearly ahead of the rest in the IPL - the fielding. While there had been several notable efforts earlier in the innings, the best were saved for the final over. Pollard had pummelled the first ball from Jadeja for six, before he fell to a face-forward diving catch by Raina at long-on. Two balls later, Harbhajan Singh hammered a four through extra cover with as much power as any Pollard shot, before he was dismissed by a well-judged clasp by Wriddhiman Saha, arching his body backwards at deep square leg to hold an overhead chance.
It left Mitchell Johnson needing to hit a six off the final delivery to tie the game, which could only be thumped towards long-off to confirm Super Kings' first victory of the tournament.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo