Mumbai Indians (MI) edged past Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a last-ball thriller at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Saturday.
Put to bat first, MS Dhoni went all guns blazing as Ambati Rayudu’s 27-balls 72 propelled them to a gargantuan total of 218/4 in their allotted quota of twenty overs.
In contrast, MI lost quick wickets and had to smash 138 runs in 10 overs at an asking rate of around 14 with seven wickets in hand. Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard built a sturdy partnership of 89 runs before Pandya departed for 32 off 23 balls in the 17th over.
Pollard, who had slammed the fastest IPL 2021 half-century off 17 balls, had to take the onus of guiding his side to a victory. The game fastened in knots and went as far as the last ball off the final over when MI needed two runs.
Smacked for a six in the previous delivery, Lungi Ngidi was preparing for the final ball when mischief-maker Pollard was on strike. Dhoni, who is known for turning games in his favour with his field placements, as usual, took off his right glove to catch the ball and attempt a run-out.
With no man inside the circle on the leg side, the former Indian captain had set the field to prevent a boundary. The final moment had come when the world would witness if CSK would survive Pollard’s scare.
Ngidi bowled a yorker on the off stump as Pollard shuffled across and nudged the ball towards long-on. Before Faf du Plessis could collect the ball, Dhawal Kulkarni and Pollard were off for another run after completing their first one. Thus, MI stole the last run and won the match.
Losing the match despite an imposing total on board, CSK were questioned by critic fanatics for their field placement in the last over. The head coach Stephen Fleming came out in defence of the field settings and revealed that his side was hoping for a clean-bowled or a plumb LBW as had happened in IPL 2019 final when the same rival trumped the three-time winners.
“Not really (if he was surprised to see the field). Pollard is such a good timer of the ball that you never know what he’s going to do. Got so much to win, to be honest, we were looking for something like the stumps being hit or like the result, we had when we got beaten in the (2019) final,” Fleming asserted in the post-match press conference.
Reflecting on the banality of the question, Fleming further added that his side would also ponder instances other than the final ball.
“So, we’ll go have a look over that. I think there are a lot of other instances that we’ll have a look at rather than just the last ball,” concluded Fleming.