Mumbai Indians finally annexed their maiden Pepsi Indian Premier Legue title upstaging a jittery Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs in the final of IPL6 in Kolkata on Sunday.
Mired in spot-fixing controversy after the arrest of owner N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings found the 149-run target, usually an easy ask by their standard, a little too much as they finished on 125 for nine on a difficult track.
Kieron Pollard (60 no and 1/34, 1 catch) was the man-of-the-match for his all-round effort.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni now lost back-to-back IPL finals despite being the lone man standing in the end with an unbeaten 63.
As soon as the last delivery was bowled by Pollard, senior pros Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting along with Team Mentor Anil Kumble rushed to the ground. Just like 2011 World Cup final, Tendulkar did a lap of honour with the teammates like Harbhajan carrying him on their shoulders.
Lasith Malinga (2/22) and Mitchell Johnson (2/19) set the tone before Harbhajan Singh (2/14) joined in the act as it was a rare batting disaster for the IPL heavyweights who featured in four straight, five overall, finals.
Four of their batsmen including Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja got out for noughts while tournament top-scorer Michael Hussey (1) was dismissed first-up by a perfect Lasith Malinga toe-crusher to set the tone.
With the team reeling at 57 for seven after 11th over, there was no chance for the ‘Men in Canary Yellow’ to make a comeback although Dhoni did try his best.
For Mumbai Indians, Eden Gardens remained a happy hunting ground with six wins from seven outings this season as it Rohit Sharma and Co.
Down with a wrist injury, Tendulkar however celebrated every moment of their triumph as the trophy was like a ‘farewell gift’ for the 40-year-old who may not be around in the next season.
Mumbai Indians earned a prize purse of Rs 10 crore, while runners-up Chennai Super Kings were awarded Rs 7.5 crore in the Rs 25 crore prize money tournament.
The packed Eden bleeded blue in the summit clash as Mumbai Indians found themselves at ‘home’ even while defending a modest 149.
The intent became quite clear in the very fourth ball when Malinga, ‘the slinger’, bowled Michael ‘Mr Cricket’ Hussey (1), the ‘Orange Cap’ holder (733 runs), with his typical toe-crushing yorker.
A second wicket in the next ball when Suresh Raina (0) was dismissed softly had the Eden crowd on its feet with chants of ‘Mumbai Mumbai’ all over the stands as Malinga had an ominous first spell that read 2-0-8-2.
It was then Johnson’s turn to join the party as the Aussie deceived Subramaniam Badrinath (0) with his away swinger as he chased the delivery down to Karthik to make it 3/3 in the second over.
It appeared quite a surprise how the fans, who were chanting KKR mantra — ‘Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re’ — a few days ago, swithced allegiance and turned blue from purple.
Dwayne Bravo (15) and Murali Vijay (18) looked to repair but it seemed to be a Mumbai Indians day.
Sharma brought in young Rishi Dhawan and he dismissed Bravo who was looking dangerous with three boundaries.
Chennai once again lost three wickets in a huff – Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja (0), and Murali Vijay (18) in four runs – to be reduced to 39/6 in the eighth over.
Surprisingly when it needed the most, Dhoni dropped him to no 7 and had his blitz but it was too late with him waging a lone battle as the task became improbable with 58/8 and the asking rate climbing past 11-mark.