Mumbai Indians v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL final, Hyderabad May 21, 2017

Krunal's bolt from the blue

With his more established team-mates falling to Rising Pune Supergiant's traps, it was up to a man playing his first IPL final to take control of it

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Hogg: Mumbai should try and retain Krunal next year

Star turn

This tournament was the game changer for his little brother in 2015, leading him to an India debut. Two years later it was big brother's time. Krunal Pandya, in the grandest stage the IPL offers, played the match-turning hand even as his more established team-mates leapt into the traps set for them.

Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel fell in the third over. Rohit Sharma found deep midwicket off a short ball. Kieron Pollard launched a catch to a very straight long-on placed specifically for that shot. Rising Pune Supergiant had everything going their way at this point. So Krunal had to wait. He had to time his innings to last till the end. But there was only one problem. By the time he was 15 off 17, he was the last specialist batsman standing, with 40 balls left to turn a score of 79 for 7 into something defendable.

He couldn't simply power hit though. Not on a pitch that was rather slow. He had to pick the right ball and couple that by finding gaps. In the last ball of the 18th over, he got width, and he slashed it to the left of the sweeper cover. In the 19th, he got under a slower ball and launched it over long-on. And in the 20th, he smashed a leg-stump half-volley to the rope and another length ball over it. Nobody knew it yet, but he had just taken the first step to Mumbai's victory.

© ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Wow moment

The first of his two sixes, and if there was any doubt over his status as a man who can properly muscle the ball, there won't be anymore. First, it was a slower ball, so he had to pick it and then make all the pace himself. To do so, he strode forward, bent the back knee, kept a low centre of gravity to get under the ball and finally swung through the line. The ball never stood a chance.

Stats that matter

  • Krunal has hit fast bowling for 172 off 117 balls, at a strike-rate of 145, and spin for 71 off 62 balls, at strike-rate of 115.
  • In 20-over games, teams have only defended 129 or less on eight occasions in the IPL. The last time was in 2013.

What they said

"When wickets were falling at other end, I just wanted to play 20 overs, because I was the only batsman and I knew if I stayed till the end, I could attack'Krunal Pandya on his approach with the bat in the final.

"To be able to come and defend like that, it was a great effort. The nerves are still there. Hat's off to a great game."
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tweaky on May 22, 2017, 18:11 GMT

    Krunal's emergence is good signs for India, he is a mature crickets with a good thinking brain and all round capabilities. Krunal and Axar will ensure Jadeja is on his toes all the time in limited over format.

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on May 22, 2017, 16:44 GMT

    To be successful at the next level ( first class, ODIs & tests) Krunaal needs to add variety to his bowling like flight, loop and turn.

    Firing in darts at 100kmph may work in T20s but Not at the longer level.

    He needs to play first class cricket and can then really add a lot of value as he learns and improves.

  • binojpeter on May 22, 2017, 14:22 GMT

    @sreddi11 When I said that, I meant T20s primarily, but also for ODIs after I see how he performs in domestic ODI matches. If he bats responsibly at no:6 and can turn down 4 good overs in T20s and 4-6 overs in ODIs, that is all I need from him to be in the team. Something similar to what Yuvraj, Raina and Yusuf Pathan did when they were in the team.

  • Fineleg87 on May 22, 2017, 6:53 GMT

    Congrats to Mahela & the MI Team. After the 1st-2nd year , I followed the complete tournament this year & always thought that MI had the most balanced side. One couldn't have asked for a better final.

  • NikSaid on May 22, 2017, 3:32 GMT

    No one from IPL deserves automatic odi call. T20international, definitely They WILL. Four players : Top scorers, Top wicket takers, top allrounders, emerging player from IPL

  • sunilvaidya on May 22, 2017, 2:19 GMT

    This just shows how instead of blind hitting sensible playing out all the overs is so important...

  • sreddi11 on May 22, 2017, 1:31 GMT

    @BINJOPETER well for Mumbai I agree but for India would you prefer Krunal over Ashwin, Jadeja or Axar Patel? Hardik is v.lucky in the case of he's the seam-bowling hard-hitting all-rounder India has craved since Kapil Dev (or since Irfan completely lost his mojo)

  • CricketChat on May 21, 2017, 23:37 GMT

    I think Krunal and Unadkat should be in the T20 national side. I don't know why Indian domestic players like these two don't play in other T20 leagues like CPL, BBL, BPL?

  • bvnathan on May 21, 2017, 21:59 GMT

    Congrats Mumbai Indians .... for an AMAZING WIN ...

  • HarrowXI on May 21, 2017, 20:47 GMT

    Both brothers are exceptional. India should utilise them and pant when they are in form. I know its unlikely looking at widom of our selectors but inwould pick below squad for one dayers 1) Kl Rahul 2) Rohit 3)Kohli 4) Pant 5)S Raina 6)K Pandya 7)H Pandya 8)Jadeja 9)Bhuvi 10)Ashwin 11)Bumrah. 12) Shami 13)Dhoni 14)Samson 15) Rahane( If we playing overseas on bouncy and bowler friendly pitch need test match type batsman)

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