Chennai Super Kings were crowned Indian Premier League 3 champions after thumping Mumbai Indians by 22 runs in a thrilling summit clash here on Sunday night.
Electing to bat, Chennai posted 168 for five, thanks to Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 57 and then restricted Mumbai to 146 for nine to win their maiden IPL title in the grand finale at the packed D Y Patil Stadium.
Chennai though had to spend some anxious moments towards the close of Mumbai run chase with big-hitting Kieron Pollard threatening to almost singlehandedly win the match before he was out in the penultimate over for a 10-ball 27 which was studded with three fours and two sixes.
For Chennai, who were playing in their second final after finishing runners-up to Rajasthan Royals in 2008, it has been a roller coaster ride having made it to the semifinal in their last league match.
Mumbai, who were playing in an IPL final for the first time, were the most consistent side in the tournament having won 10 of their 14 league matches, but they faltered at the final hurdle.
For Mumbai, captain Sachin Tendulkar, who declared himself fit for the grand finale after sustaining a right hand webbing split in first semifinal, top-scored with a 45-ball 48 which was studded with seven fours but he did not get enough support from his batting colleagues.
Tendulkar’s 66-run stand from 58 balls for the second wicket with Abhishek Nayar was the only substantial partnership for Mumbai. Left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati emerged the most successful Chennai bowler with two for 26 while Doug Bollinger, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan and Suresh Raina took a wicket apiece.
Mumbai began their run chase of 169 on a shaky note with opener Shikhar Dhawan failing to score the opening over from Ravichandran Ashwin and was out in the second over bowled by Bollinger for an eight-ball duck.
Mumbai struggled for runs before Tendulkar and Nayar took 10 runs from the fifth over by hitting a four each off Ashwin. Tendulkar, who celebrated his 37th birthday yesterday, then smote Albie Morkel for two fours to take Mumbai to 33 for one after the first power-play.
With off-spinner Muralitharan introduced in the seventh over, runs came in trickles and he was unlucky not to have got Nayar with Matthew Hayden dropping the batsman when on eight. Nayar struck two sixes in as many balls off Jakati in the 10th over to take Mumbai score to 58 for one at the halfway mark.
With the asking rate over 11 by the 10th over, Mumbai looked like pressing the accelerator but they lost two wickets in the 12th over with Nayar and Harbhajan Singh returning to the hut in the space of five balls. Nayar was run out for a 26-ball 27 after being sent back by Tendulkar and Harbhajan, who was surprisingly sent up the order, was LBW to Raina for just one.
Mumbai’s hopes almost ended with the departure of Tendulkar in the 15th over and the veteran batsman, who wore the orange cap for being the tournament top scorer, was out while trying to pushed the run rate, holing out to Murali Vijay off Jakati.
Saurabh Tiwary, who has been in fine form in the tournament, followed Tendulkar three balls later as he holed out to Raina off Jakati for a duck.
Mumbai needed 68 from the last five overs and JP Duminy’s (6) departure in the 17th over did not help the Mumbai cause. But big-hitting Kieron Pollard, who was surprisingly sent in number eight, raised hopes of a stunning victory for Mumbai by singlehandedly taking 22 runs from the 18th over bowled by Bollinger.
Mumbai needed 33 runs from the last two overs but a mix up led to Ambati Rayudu’s run out in the fifth ball of the penultimate over and next ball Pollard was out to end Mumbai’s dreams of winning the title.
Earlier, Raina took advantage of some sloppy catching by Mumbai Indians as he struck an unbeaten 57 to pilot Chennai Super Kings to 168 for five in the summit clash which was preceded by a 40-minute closing ceremony.
The left-handed Raina, who came one down on team score of 44, was dropped twice — on 14 and 28 — before making a crucial 57 not out in 35 balls embellished with three sixes and as many fours.
But for Raina’s knock and his 72-run partnership with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22 in 15 balls) for the fourth wicket, Chennai would have ended with a much lesser score. Electing to bat, Chennai made a decent start with openers Matthew Hayden (17) and Murali Vijay (26) putting on 44 runs.
The Mumbai Indians bowling attack then put an effective shackle on the batsmen on a wicket that offered good bounce but on which the ball stopped a bit on the batsmen. For Mumbai, tall Sri Lanka pace bowler Dilhara Fernando emerged the most successful with 2 for 23 while Zaheer Khan and Kieron Pollard picked one wicket apiece.
Openers Hayden and Vijay started cautiously and saw off one over each from Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga before stepping on the accelerator. It was the left-handed Hayden, who has been struggling in the tournament, who started the attack by hoisting Harbhajan over long on for the first six of the match in the third over.
Vijay then pulled Zaheer Khan into the stands beyond the mid-wicket area and then punched Malinga exquisitely to the extra cover fence for a four.Malinga was then square cut by Hayden and the duo looked all-set for a big stand. But Vijay fell caught just inside the boundary line off a skier by Saurabh Tiwary off Fernando. His 26 came off 19 balls and included two sixes and a four.
From 44 for one, it became 47 for two when Hayden, who survived a close leg before wicket appeal off Zaheer earlier, tried to charge out to Kieron Pollard and mistimed a pull to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Ambati Rayudu.
Chennai progressed to 58 for two after 10 overs, sign that Mumbai have bounced back into the game. Raina and S Badrinath (14) got together briefly before the latter got out, caught at fine leg for 14 off Fernando. Then came the most fruitful stand of the innings between Raina and Dhoni. They put on 72 runs in 35 balls.
But after Dhoni fell in the 18th over, it was Raina –who struck Pollard for two sixes in the 16th over in which the bowler conceded 29 runs — who made sure that his team ended with a decent total.