It’s the last ball of the 20th over with Shardul Thakur squaring up to Lasith Malinga. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) need two to win the Vivo IPL 2019. It’s a slow full-length delivery pitched on the stumps. Thakur’s swipe misses the ball, and it raps him on his pads. Out! Thakur is trapped in front. Mumbai Indians (MI) has defeated arch-rivals CSK by the thinnest of margins — one run. They are the Vivo IPL winners for the fourth time!
Another year, another fairy-tale triumph! For the umpteenth time, MI has come back from the dumps to end on a victorious note. We take a look at their campaign this year.
MI began their campaign with a loss to Delhi Capitals at home. Then, in a last-over thriller, they barely managed sail past the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The umpires had missed a Malinga no-ball that could have potentially tilted the scales in RCB’s favour.
Soon, they slumped to the sixth position after two losses in their first three games. The dubious reputation of being ‘nervous starters’ was looking more like a prophecy. Their bowling was proving ineffective. Even the batting was looking woefully out of sorts. Rohit Sharma was nowhere close to his best; Yuvraj Singh seemed past his prime, and Kieron Pollard was struggling.
Something special had to spark off a comeback. Alzarri Joseph provided the inspiration. Filling in for Malinga, Joseph ran through the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s batting line-up claiming 6 wickets for 12 runs and helped MI defend a paltry 136.
In the next match Pollard stood-in as captain for Sharma against the Kings XI Punjab. He turned around the game with a blistering 31-ball 83. It was a hat-trick of wins and MI were now galloping back into form!
Hardik Pandya played a vital role in MI’s incredible turnaround. The Baroda all-rounder had come into Vivo IPL 2019 after an injury lay-off. And he came back with a scintillating performance! He worked wonders with both bat and ball. With 402 runs at a strike rate of 191.42, he was just behind Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) Andre Russell in the power-hitting stakes. Who can forget the 34-ball 91 against KKR at the Eden Gardens? Chasing 233, MI was reeling at 58-4 when Pandya walked in and almost took them to victory. It was the fastest fifty in this year’s Vivo IPL. He also took 14 wickets to emerge as one of MI’s go-to players.
Jasprit Bumrah was another critical performer for MI. He was mighty effective in choking the opposition, especially in the death overs. Even in the final, he gave away a miserly 14 runs in his four overs.
Quinton De Kock gave good starts and unassumingly raked in the runs. He finished as the third-highest run scorer in the tournament with 529 runs.
Suryakumar Yadav also played crucial knocks in the last two matches before the final. Even Pollard chipped in with a couple of important knocks.
MI finished as the league toppers. In the first qualifier, they comfortably went past CSK. They seemed to have peaked at the right time.
It was cricketing justice when MI outwitted CSK for the fourth time this season to clinch the title. They deserved the crown in one of the biggest events in this glittering #SummerOfSports.