Aggressive Mumbai end title drought
Mumbai Indians 148 for 9 (Pollard 60*, Bravo 4-42, Morkel 2-12) beat Chennai Super Kings 125 for 9 (Dhoni 63*, Johnson 2-19, Harbhajan 2-14) by 23 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kept alive by Kieron Pollard's fighting 60 off 32, the Mumbai Indians bowlers attacked their way to a first IPL title. Mumbai were struggling at 52 for 4 in the 10th over, but Pollard batted through the innings to take them 148 even as wickets kept falling as the other end. Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson then were too good for the Chennai Super Kings batsmen, yorking and bouncing them out.
Super Kings' two big Indian batsmen fell to bouncers, their best batsman was done in by a perfect Malinga yorker, and the rest fell under the weight of the pressure and their own conservatism. MS Dhoni came in to bat at No. 7, and Albie Morkel at 8. Twenty20 doesn't always favour aggressive sides, in that wickets don't mean as much as they should, but in this match it did.
Wickets were there aplenty for Super Kings too. There were three in the first four overs as the ball seamed, and Mohit Sharma and Morkel bowled smartly and steadily. When Dinesh Karthik fell in the 10th over, Super Kings were arguably one big wicket away from killing the game. That one big wicket never came.
The first ball Pollard faced he defended away for four. That was sweetly played. He just pushed at a shortish delivery, but the ball scurried along between the bowler and mid-off. He lost Ambati Rayudu after a 48-run fifth-wicket stand, but kept bringing up fours and sixes without taking risks. His countryman, Dwayne Bravo, though, threatened to ruin his plans.
Pollard had taken Mumbai to 129 for 6 after 18 overs, and would have been looking for 40 more. A tight Chris Morris over later, Bravo kept Pollard away from the strike through two wickets off the first three balls of the last over. Pollard took the risk fourth ball and ran even though the ball had reached the slip straight on a half-volley. Now Pollard had two balls to do something about the score that read only 136.
And do something Pollard did. The first of the two balls was a low full toss and he flicked it for a straight six. Then came a slower ball, which pitched on a length, and Pollard dismissed it out of his presence. Twelve runs taken off the last two balls, Mumbai were reminded by their analyst that they had scored 148 in their first match against Super Kings too. Pollard had scored 57 not out then too. They won by nine back then.
This time, though, they would need something special. Malinga, asked to bowl the first over, delivered nothing less than special. A swinging yorker first squeezed under Michael Hussey's bat. Out came Suresh Raina. In came a backward short leg. Out came an accurate bouncer. Raina fended at it while looking towards third man. Backward short leg took the catch.
Super Kings now sent crisis man S Badrinath ahead of the bigger hitters. If consolidation was his brief, Badrinath exceeded it by driving at a wide length ball from Mitchell Johnson and edging it through. Still no Dhoni. Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja didn't take too long, and Dhoni had to finally come out at 36 for 5 in the seventh over. However, he ran out of batsmen soon with M Vijay falling to a Johnson bouncer and Morkel to a full Pragyan Ojha delivery, and actually had to begin farming the strike and refuse singles with six overs still to go.
Most of Dhoni's 63 off 45 came after the match had been lost, and only gave Mumbai an extended time on the field to celebrate the title even when the match was on.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo