Five Mumbai Indians games only hardcore fans will remember

A Pollard blitz, a Jayasuriya classic, a Malinga surprise, and more

Deivarayan Muthu
As a vital part of Mumbai Indians' middle order in the early 2010s, Ambati Rayudu was part of some thrilling chases  •  AFP

As a vital part of Mumbai Indians' middle order in the early 2010s, Ambati Rayudu was part of some thrilling chases  •  AFP

If you're a Mumbai Indians fan, of course you're going to remember the four IPL finals and the two Champions League T20s they have won, but the test of whether you're a hardcore fan is if you can remember these five compelling and important but less talked about games.
v Chennai Super Kings, CLT20 2011, group match, Chennai
If we told you Lasith Malinga was the man to break a Chennai Super Kings nine-match winning streak at home, you wouldn't be surprised. But would you believe that he did it with the bat? In humid conditions, Mumbai Indians were left flailing at 106 for 7 chasing 159 when Malinga walked in. He began by slogging back-to-back sixes and then survived a stumping attempt when MS Dhoni made a rare mistake. It came down to 26 needed off 12 balls. Malinga straight-drove Albie Morkel over long-off for six. At the start of the final over, they needed 12. Facing Doug Bollinger, Malinga made room and carved the second ball over point for four and took single off the third, letting Harbhajan Singh finish the game with another boundary. Malinga was not out on 37 off 18 balls, which is still his highest T20 score by some distance. Mumbai ended up eventual title winners, but they would not even have made the knockouts if not for Malinga's one-off gem.
v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2012, group match, Bangalore
By 2012, Mumbai Indians had a reputation for pulling off come-from-behind chases. In this key group match, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard, the mainstays of the middle order at the time, were the heroes. The game had had its share of drama, with stoppages due to rain and a broken floodlight, and Munaf Patel going for 24 runs in the final over of RCB's innings. With Mumbai chasing 172, Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for a golden duck, starting a slide that left them at 51 for 5 in the ninth over. Pollard began the fightback with back-to-back sixes and Rayudu got 21 runs off ten balls from Chris Gayle before going six, four, six against R Vinay Kumar in the 18th over. With RCB's specialists bowled out, Gayle was tasked with defending 13 off the last over and Pollard finished the game off in a blaze of boundaries. Rayudu, who ended on 81 not out, was so fired up after the win that he began hurling obscenities at RCB's Harshal Patel and had to be restrained.
v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2013, group match, Mumbai
Four, six, six, six, six, six, dot, six - that's what Kieron Pollard did between overs 16.3 and 17.5 of Mumbai Indians' chase, an unreal innings, the kind only he could play in those days. Mumbai needed 62 off the last four overs with Pollard and Rohit Sharma at the crease. Sharma began the mayhem with a six off Thisara Perera and then gave the strike to Pollard, who punished Perera for his length. Three straight sixes - one actually hit the sightscreen - and Mumbai were back in the game. Amit Mishra returned to the attack, a potential banana skin for Pollard, given his weakness against legspin, but Sharma once again turned over the strike to Pollard, who hit three more massive sixes. A required rate of more than 15 had been reduced to six. Pollard finished the game off with two sixes in the final over, ending with 66 off 27 balls. He would, of course, play another explosive innings in the final and give Mumbai their first IPL title.
v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2008, group match, Mumbai,
A 39-year-old Sanath Jayasuriya tore open the portal to his heyday when he scored the fifth century of the IPL. The pre-match build-up had been dominated by the return of Sachin Tendulkar from injury, but in an 82-run opening stand, Tendulkar got only 12. Jayasuriya continued to dominate the chase of 157 once Tendulkar was dismissed, brandishing his trademark shots - the short-arm jab and the back-foot slash. Of his 114 unbeaten runs, 102 came via boundaries (11 sixes and nine fours). Not even Muttiah Muralitharan was spared - Jayasuriya cracked him behind point and swept him behind square on the leg side for fours. He ended the chase in the 14th over, with a sequence of 6, 6, 6, 4, 4 off another Sri Lankan, Chamara Kapugedera.
v Perth Scorchers, CLT20 2013, group match, Delhi
To make it to the knockouts of the 2013 Champions League T20, Mumbai had to beat Perth Scorchers by a big margin to go ahead of Otago Volts on net run rate. They needed to get to their target, 150, in 14.2 overs. Thanks to Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma, they did it with an over to spare. Smith, after losing his opening partner, Sachin Tendulkar, for a duck, blitzed 48 off 25 balls. Then, it was up to Rohit, who had been named captain earlier in the year. He smacked a 23-ball half-century, hitting boundaries and sixes to all parts of the ground. So explosive was Rohit that he out-struck Pollard, with whom he shared a 65-run partnership. Mumbai soared into the semi-finals and ended the year as both IPL and CLT20 champions.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo