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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Jayasuriya’s belligerent 114 to Watson’s 80 with a bleeding knee: The best of MI vs CSK rivalry

The oldest and fiercest rivalry in the IPL: Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the only two franchises to have faced each other in an IPL final four times.

Written by Arun Rawal | Published: April 24, 2020 3:40:44 pm
Shane Watson and Sanath Jayasuriya (IPL Photo/Express Archive)

The 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was originally scheduled to kick off on March 29. The spread of the Covid-19 virus has resulted in an indefinite postponement with the possibility of it being cancelled. So we’re reliving some of the best clashes between the franchises and standout performances. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Mumbai Indians (MI) was set to be the blockbuster match of the day (April 24) as per the original schedule.

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The CSK vs MI rivalry is the oldest and fiercest rivalry in the history of IPL. MS Dhoni-led CSK are the most consistent franchise, qualifying for the playoffs in most of the seasons they have played and winning the trophy three times. On the other hand, MI were fairly consistent earlier but have become the most successful franchise in the T20 league in recent years, with title wins in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 under the leadership of Rohit Sharma.

Head-to-head

MI have managed to beat CSK 18 times out of 29 games they have played against each other. They have met in the qualifiers five times and in the finals four times. Both teams have emerged victorious twice each in finals.

A look at nail-biting contests and outstanding performances:

Joginder-Gony save the day in a high-scoring affair

The first clash between the two giants and the eighth match of the inaugural season of IPL was a high-scoring affair. Opener Matthew Hayden went all guns blazing scoring a 46-ball 81. Suresh Raina’s 53 and Dhoni’s 16-ball 30 helped CSK post 208/5 on the board. The stand-in skipper Harbhajan used as many as eight bowlers in the innings but could not bring down the run rate.

In the run chase, MI kept losing wickets. Manpreet Gony gave just 18 runs in his four overs and took the wicket of the dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya. Robin Uthappa contributed with a 43-run knock but MI kept on losing wickets. At one stage, they were six wickets down for 141 with 27 balls to go. The skipper and Abhishek Nayar went berserk in the death overs. Harbhajan even hit Jacob Oram for two sixes in a row. Nayar scored as many as 21 runs from medium-pacer Palani Amarnath’s over to give his team a fighting chance. Even spin maverick Muttiah Muralitharan went for runs but he got the wicket of Harbhajan in the penultimate over. He scored a 14-ball 28.

Dhoni trusted Joginder Sharma with the job to bowl the final over. The target was bigger this time. He had 19 runs to save. Nayar got two boundaries from the first two balls but could not get another in the next four deliveries. CSK won the match by six runs registering their first win against Mumbai.

Total annihilation from Sanath Jayasuriya

This game is a perfect example of a one-man show. Sanath Jayasuriya showed the world that he was built for the short format of the game. Jayasuriya had been taking on the bowlers in the powerplay overs for over a decade by now. The attacking left-handed batsmen showed his big-hitting prowess in MI’s second game against CSK as the Wankhede crowd cheered for him for every cut shot, every pull, every shot hammered down the ground.

Shaun Pollock’s economical bowling in the first innings and Dhawal Kulkarni’s timely strikes restricted CSK to a respectable total of 156/6. Chasing 157, he did not spare any bowler. From Gony to Albie Morkel, the Sri Lankan opener hit the ball to the boundary consistently. He even managed to hit Muralitharan for a few boundaries. But, it was his fellow countrymen Chamara Kapugedara who had the worst day with the ball. The southpaw hit him for three sixes and two fours in the 14th over to reach his century.

Jayasuriya remained not out for 114 runs from 48 deliveries including eight fours and 11 sixes. He scored more than 70 per cent of MI’s run chase and got them over the line with 37 balls to spare. At the rate he was going, even 200 would have looked like a walk in the park.

Smith rescues Mumbai after batting collapse

One of the closest matches between the two sides. CSK posted a total of 174/8 on the board with the help of contributions from Murali Vijay (41), Raina (36), Dwayne Bravo (40), and Dhoni 25. In the run chase, MI lost New Zealand’s James Franklin early. Tendulkar and Rohit carried helped MI get back on track with a 126-run partnership for the second wicket. With 40 runs required from 26 deliveries and nine wickets in hand, a win for MI looked a lot likely but then Ravichandran Ashwin managed to create pressure and get his wicket in the 16th over. Tendulkar departed for 74 and after his wicket, the MI batting collapsed like a pack of cards.

From 134/2 MI went to 159/9. Rohit’s wicket in the penultimate over only increased the pressure on the last recognised batsman Dwayne Smith. 16 runs were needed off the last over. Smith could only manage a single off the first ball. As expected Lasith Malinga went for a big shot and lost his wicket. Then came RP Singh and he took the most important single of the match by getting the Caribbean batsman on strike. Smith converted a full toss into a maximum, a missed yorker for a boundary, and then guided the last ball to the square boundary to take MI home on the last ball of the match. He remained unbeaten for a 9-ball 25 shocking CSK after a spirited comeback.

The Bravo innings with a Jadhav finish

The IPL 2018 got off to the best start possible as CSK pulled off an unlikely run chase. In the first innings, it was Krunal Pandya’s heroics (22-ball 41) in the death overs which took MI to a fighting total of 165/4. Deepak Chahar worked magic on his debut getting the wicket of opener Evin Lewis after using the DRS in IPL for the first time. In the run chase, CSK got off to a decent start but lost too many wickets. Kedar Jadhav getting retired hurt only added to the pressure.

CSK were six wickets down for 84 runs in 13 overs, thanks to leggie Mayank Markande’s dream debut. At this point of the run chase, many would have turned off their TV sets but those who didn’t were up for a Dwayne Bravo epic. The Caribbean all-rounder carried the run chase on his back with timely boundaries. He turned the game upside down with a 20-run over against Mitchell McClenaghan. He did it again against Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate over but lost his wicket on the final delivery of his spell. As a result, a wounded Jadhav limped his way to the crease against Mustafizur Rahman with seven runs needed off the last over. The veteran kept his cool and finished the match with one ball to spare in the high-voltage run chase.

The final: Ultimate test of nerves

The most thrilling final of the four these two teams have played against each other. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Rohit’s brigade had a hard time in the field with the bat. If it wasn’t for Pollard’s unbeaten 25-ball 41, MI would not have even been able to post 149/8 on the board. Chahar once again shined with the ball taking three wickets for 26 runs in the final including a maiden over. The scoreboard pressure wasn’t much and it seemed like another one-sided final.

CSK started off the run chase well with Faf du Plessis’ 13-ball 26 and Shane Watson on the other end. Watson took his time to settle and then targetted Malinga scoring 15 runs in the final over of the powerplay. Rayudu, Raina, and Dhoni failed to rise to the occasion and registered single-digit scores. Watson did the heavy lifting as required run rate reached more than 12 runs per over after 14 overs. Once again, the Australian targetted Malinga hitting him for 20 runs in the 15th over. Rohit’s decision to give Krunal Pandya the 18th over backfired as well as he was hit for three sixes in a row.

In the final over, Rohit handed the ball to Malinga who had went for 42 runs in his three overs instead of Hardik who had given just three runs in his one over. Watson seemed determined to get CSK over the line but he got run out trying to take a couple of runs. The bleeding knee got the better of him as he departed for 80 runs from 59 deliveries. Banking on experience paid off for Rohit. The skipper’s little tip to bowl a slower ball to Shardul Thakur worked as he was dismissed off the final delivery. MI won by the barest of margins winning their fourth IPL title.

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