Mumbai outshines Chennai, enters IPL 2019 finals

Suryakumar Yadav’s hard-fought 71 on a spinning track took Mumbai Indians home against Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 1 fixture on Tuesday.

Suryakumar Yadav 71 not out off 54 (4x10) spearheaded Mumbai Indians' run chase.   -  IPL

Mumbai Indians has been there, done that; so has Chennai Super Kings. Both the sides have gone out on several playoffs dates. They have won the trophy thrice. But the Qualifier 1 fixture at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday belonged to the visitor.

Rohit Sharma and Co. earned the ticket to the IPL 2019 final by maintaining their winning run against the Super Kings; 3-0 in the season. Chasing 132, Mumbai crossed the finish line with six wickets in hand and nine balls to spare.

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The spin demons called the shots on the rank turner. The Super Kings had dismissed Royal Challengers Bangalore for 70 on the same wicket in the tournament opener.

Rohit 4 off 2 (4x1) started the chase with a four off the first ball, but pacer Deepak Chahar trapped him in front of the stumps in the second. Quinton de Kock 8 off 12 (4x2) started getting impatient and the inside-out bat-swing off Harbhajan Singh found Faf du Plessis at long-off.

Suryakumar Yadav 71 not out off 54 (4x10) held his ground, found the occasional boundaries with Ishan Kishan 28 off 31 (4x1, 6x1) for company. While the right-hander dealt in ones and twos, the left-handed Kishan tried breaking free against Harbhajan. Owing to the tough pitch, all he managed was a four and a six.

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Leggie Imran Tahir made inroads for the Super Kings as he cleaned up Kishan and caught Krunal (0) off his own bowling in the same over. But he left it too late.

Suryakumar was dropped twice. Once on 11 by Murali Vijay off Deepak, and on 53 by Shane Watson off Ravindra Jadeja. The missed chances cost the Super Kings.

Tahir (2/33) and Harbhajan (1/25) got wickets but the humid conditions saw them slip in seven extras.

Spinners rule the roost

Opting to bat, the Super Kings were strangled by their own medicine upfront — spin. It just about managed 131 for the loss of four wickets, all taken by the spinners.

Mumbai followed its pattern of introducing all the bowling machines one-by-one in the first 10 overs, before setting the death overs stage for Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah.

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Studying the nature of the pitch, mixed spin bags Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav and Krunal Pandya raised their hands to do the early damage.

Chahar’s leg-breaks, snaking in and out, led to jitters. Du Plessis 6 off 11(4x1) was the first casualty. Undone by the bounce and turn, the South African’s cut in the air found substitute fielder Anmolpreet Singh at backward point.

Suresh Raina 5 off 7 (4x1) at No 3 tried an aerial strike against spin, across the line.  Amid two free-hits for four runs, one deemed as dead ball for the field had changed, off Jayant Yadav, the left-hander did not find the required elevation. Yadav kept his eye on the ball and pulled off an easy caught-and-bowled dismissal.

Having warmed up at the non-striker’s end, Shane Watson 10 off 13 (4x2) picked on Bumrah — introduced in the fifth over — for recovery. One ball went passed short fine-leg and the other, over the mid-wicket region for two boundaries. But the Aussie succumbed to Krunal in the next over by attempting a pull off the back foot. Yadav took the catch at mid-on with his back facing the ball.

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The spinners bowled four of the six Powerplay overs claiming three crucial wickets with 16 dot balls.

Kedar Jadhav’s shoulder injury brought Murali Vijay in. The veteran tried to pace the innings with a run-a-ball 26 before a tossed-up classical leg-break delivery pushed him out of his crease. The bails were taken off by Quinton De Kock in split seconds.

Super Kings skipper M.S. Dhoni 37 not out off 29 (6x3) and Ambati Rayudu 42 not out off 37 (4x3, 6x1) added 66 runs in 48 balls to make it an even contest towards the end.

Rohit did his calculations right and used Krunal and Chahar’s full quota of four overs each; Malinga, who had conceded only 12 off his first two overs, leaked 15 in his third. Dhoni smashed him for two sixes over long-on in the 19th over.