Mumbai Indians defends 129 to win third IPL title

Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), requiring 11 off the last over versus Mumbai Indians, fell a run short in what could be its last hurrah.

Mumbai Indians players celebrate their third IPL title in Hyderabad.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

Poised on the precipice, Mumbai Indians (MI), powered by Mitchell Johnson’s stupendous bowling (three for 26) at the death, defended its total of 129 and won its third Indian Premier League title at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Sunday night.

Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), requiring 11 off the last over, fell a run short in what could be its last hurrah, unless the championship is expanded to more teams in the next season. Skipper Steve Smith's gritty 51 runs went in vain.

Rohit Sharma won his fourth title — three as MI captain, and one more with the now defunct Deccan Chargers.

Jasprit Bumrah’s bootlace bombs swung things Mumbai’s way. He drew first blood, rapping Rahul Tripathi's pads. On his second spell, he got Mahendra Singh Dhoni, promoted to two-down, caught behind by Parthiv Patel, a blow that dented Pune's chances.

SCORECARD AND BALL-BY-BALL DETAILS

Ajinkya Rahane (44 off 38) nearly perished on 14 while lobbing Lasith Malinga to Krunal Pandya, who spilt the chance at cover. In the next over, the stylish striker sent the Sri Lankan slinger to the fence, this time with a full-blooded hit. The placid-faced Pune batsman then despatched Johnson to the Mumbai dugout, as if to rub it in for Krunal's missed chance.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Captain Smith, meanwhile, was content playing the second fiddle. Rahane departed six short of a half century, when Kieron Pollard leapt to catch him off Johnson's delivery.

Earlier, Mumbai skidded to the lowest total in an IPL final when batting first, logging 129 for eight. Deccan Chargers’s 143 at Johannesburg in 2009 had been the lowest total defended in a final.

Pune bowlers' wicket-to-wicket lines meant that MI openers Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel could only scamper for singles.

Patel, growing restless, swiped at a rising Unadkat delivery, which was caught by Shardul Thakur at mid-on. Simmons fell three balls later, when his leading edge was caught by a leaping Unadkat off his own bowling.

If Pune’s new ball operators — Unadkat and Washington Sundar — were miserly, Shardul Thakur was no less niggardly, keeping the explosive pair of Rohit and Ambati Rayudu on a tight leash. Rohit, in the sixth over, scored Mumbai’s first boundary off Lockie Ferguson. With great ease, he sent the ball racing to the ropes four times in that over.

Smith's direct hit from mid-off got rid of Rayudu for 12.

Adam Zampa then dismissed Rohit, when the latter's pull shot was caught outstandingly by Thakur, who was skirting the mid-wicket boundary.

Pollard, then, carted the Aussie leggie to the second tier over long off. Zampa exacted revenge two balls later by trapping the Trinidadian while he attempted another big hit. In a carefully plotted move, Manoj Tiwary, sneaking in from long on, caught Pollard before the sight-screen.

Krunal and Johnson, then added 50 runs for the eighth wicket, taking MI to 129.

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