By BV Swagath
MS Dhoni played one of the best T20 knocks ever but his efforts just fell short of pulling off a sensational win for hosts Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians. The late evening show at the Chepauk was more of a contest between two great performances – one from Pollard and later on by Dhoni. In a fitting end, it was a stupendous leaping catch at deep mid wicket from the gigantic Pollard that made the difference as it was a missile struck by MS Dhoni in the last over of the match with CSK needing 12 to win.
Chasing a modest target of 149, CSK were in trouble just like the Mumbai Indians by losing too many wickets at the start and not showing the urgency. The hosts slipped to 66 for 5 in 12.1 overs with plenty of work left to do for MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. CSK bounced back as Jadeja struck a six and a four but threw his wicket away by attempting a needless slog off Munaf to leave his side at 97 for 6 in 15.2 overs.
Dhoni who was striking the ball cleanly right from his arrival had no proper batsman to give him support at the other end! Despite that the CSK Captain held his nerve to strike the big shots and towards the end had to even farm the strike. Just when he had set it up nicely for a CSK win, Dhoni perished when his big hit fell just short of a six and got caught. Dhoni scored his 51 in just 26 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes.
For Mumbai Indians, Pragyan Ojha bowled out his 4 overs for just 16 runs while taking two key wickets that of Bravo and Badrinath. Pollard chipped in with a crucial wicket in the slog overs while Munaf Patel had a mixed bag despite ending up with figures of 3 for 29.
Pollard rescues Mumbai Indians: Kieron Pollard produced a great knock of 57* from 38 balls to rescue Mumbai Indians from a disastrous position to a competitive total of 148 for 6 against a quality CSK bowling attack. Pollard effortlessly struck five sixes and 4 fours while carrying Mumbai Indians from a terrible situation of 83 for 6 in 12 overs. Harbhajan Singh provided him decent support with a run-a-ball 21*.
It was otherwise a splendid show from the CSK seamers early on. Dirk Nannes removed Sachin Tendulkar for a first ball duck with the veteran adjudged lbw after playing right across the line. Ricky Ponting was well caught at slip by Ashwin trying to pull a short one from rookie fast bowler Ankit Rajpoot. Dwayne Bravo produced a terrific inducker to have Rohit Sharma caught behind by a diving MS Dhoni to leave Mumbai at 41 for 3 in 6.1 overs.
Dinesh Karthik, the man in form, scored 37 from 25 balls before getting out lbw to an indipper from Bravo. After him, the capable Rayudu and Dwayne Smith played poor shots to leave Mumbai Indians in dire straits. Pollard ensured that Mumbai Indians batted out their overs and come up with a decent total. For CSK, Dirk Nannes with his left arm pace took 1 for 18 in 4 overs. R Ashwin was good as well with his 1 for 21 in 4 overs.
Toss and Teams: Mumbai Indians have won the toss and elected to bat first against hosts Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The visitors have replaced Jacob Oram and Jasprit Bumrah with Dwayne Smith and Pragyan Ojha. CSK’s four overseas players are going to be Mike Hussey, Nannes, Dwayne Bravo and Laughlin.
Chennai: Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, R Ashwin, Dirk Nannes, Ben Laughlin, Ankit Rajpoot
Mumbai: Ricky Ponting (C), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell Johnson, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha