Mumbai Indians’ dream comeback in IPL 7 came to an end on Wednesday as they went down to Chennai Super Kings in the eliminator having put up a rather inconsistent show. Of the two teams on show at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, Chennai were without doubt the better team on the day, and deserved to progress to the eliminator 2. Mumbai, who made a spectacular comeback to register a last-minute entry into the playoffs, possibly ran out of steam by the time they came up against Chennai. They just didn’t seem to have enough left in the tank to fight further.
A couple of key reasons were responsible for Mumbai’s ouster from the event. One of the chief ones was the fact that their batting in the second half of their innings was insipid. Mumbai had a wonderful start to the innings as Mike Hussey and Lendl Simmons added 76 for the opening wicket just inside the first 10 overs. With such a great foundation, they should ideally have finished with a 200 plus score, but they failed to get the desired acceleration towards the end, which cost them a good 30 runs.
In hindsight, the dismissal of Corey Anderson was the big turning point of the game. Sent in at number 3, Anderson had smashed a couple of big sixes, and looked set to take on the Chennai attack. However, the Super Kings have a much more versatile attack in comparison to Rajasthan Royals, and Anderson’s dismissal came at an extremely crucial point in the game. When Ashwin dismissed Anderson, Mumbai were still well placed at 99 for 2 in the 13th over. But, even though Simmons crossed a half-century, the run rate had taken a beating following Anderson’s dismissal.
The last few overs were really a horror story for Mumbai’s batsmen. Simmons fell for 67 at the score of 143 in the 17th over. Following the opener’s dismissal, it was imperative for skipper Rohit Sharma to carry on till the end. But, even he fell for 20 when a couple of big overs were still left. What followed killed Mumbai’s chances of ending up with a match-winning score. Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu and Aditya Tare, all fell in quick succession, as a result of which, Mumbai lost all the momentum they had built up in the first 10 overs.
174 was still a decent score to defend, but Mumbai succumbed under pressure, in front of their home crowd. For them to keep Chennai under check, it was important for Mumbai to strike early. Instead, they dropped both the Chennai openers, Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis early on. Their bowlers subsequently could not put any pressure on Chennai’s batsmen. And once, Smith and du Plessis raced away in the first six overs, Mumbai’s hopes were all but dashed. The Indian pair of Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar were efficient, but Mumbai definitely missed the great bowler named Lasith Malinga.
--By A Cricket Analyst