Ughh. Shut up! Stop shouting! Cut it out! These are just some of the things people said to me after I was found shouting in my room while jumping on the bed to continuously bang my head on the roof at 12:00 o’clock in the night. The reason – Mumbai Indians won the IPL!
I don’t mean to sound very know-it-all-y but in my pre-tournament prediction, I had kept Mumbai Indians as Table-toppers and champions. Both came true! I appreciate your offer Cricbuzz, I’ll get back to you on that because I also have an offer from Cricinfo and Sportskeeda. In all seriousness though, this Mumbai Indians side is really invincible. They have the right amount of youngsters and experienced players. They have the right blend of bowlers, with the best pacers in all the teams and two spinners who bowl fearlessly. The batting order is the most flexible and even if the upper order cannot give a good start, someone from the hitters down in the lower order always steps up.
But it’s not like MI won this match effortlessly. There were just 9 runs needed off the final over for CSK with the man on 77 – Shane Watson on strike. And the bowler was Lasith Malinga who had already conceded 49 runs in 3 overs until then. But as they say – you can’t buy experience, but you can buy Malinga. Slinga bowled perfectly, if that’s possible. The first ball was full close into the block hole and all Watto could do was parry it down to long on. Jadeja did well to get a single off the next ball. Watson managed to convert a single to two runs on the next ball. Now 5 were needed off the next 3 balls. It was all just a matter of one boundary. Malinga did his job well with an excellently executed wide yorker but after taking the single, Watson suddenly decides he doesn’t want to take the second run. But under pressure from Jadeja, he half-heartedly runs across only to see De Kock take out his stumps from a Krunal Pandya throw. That might well have been the point where MI won the match. Because had Shane Watson been on strike with 3 runs to win off 2 balls. MI would have been in some serious trouble. Nevertheless, another shocking decision for me was sending Shardul Thakur up the order. I know he can dispatch a few to the boundaries but he is relatively inexperienced. I remember Harbhajan finishing off so many games. Now CSK had the opportunity to use his experience but they went with the relative inexperience of Shardul. Malinga made his first mistake of this over with a full toss on the legs but Shardul couldn’t use it to his advantage managing only two runs. Now the last ball of Vivo IPL 2019 was to be bowled and CSK needed 2 runs to write their name on the trophy for the fourth time. Oh well. Malinga bowled it right on the stumps which was surprising considering that it was a ball which could either be hit for six or it could get a wicket. The latter happened and MI became IPL champions for a record fourth time.
As said by MS Dhoni in the post-match presentation, both teams made lots of mistakes. But the team that made one less mistake won. That is true. CSK dropped one very important catch of Hardik Pandya who then went on to hit a six. MI though were actually the ones who dropped more catches. First up Lasith Malinga dropped a high catch which was the definition of a sitter. Then Rahul Chahar dropped a caught-and-bowled chance. After this Chahar dropped yet another one, which was even easier. But the interesting thing is, all three of them were off Shane Watson’s batting. I am telling you, Shane Watson must have bought a lottery ticket after last night’s match.
The game was pretty much in CSK’s hands after the start that Faf and Watto gave to them. They had to score at a run rate south of 7! But their rookie mistakes took the trophy away from them. Raina, after one successful review, got cocky and took another review in the next over itself and lost CSK’s all important review. Rayudu played an uncomfortable shot to edge it back to the eagerly waiting Quinton De Kock. But the most unprecedented of the rookie mistakes was MS Dhoni’s. Dhoni, unlike his usual self, tried to take a run which was never there. After an overthrow from Malinga (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise), Dhoni tried to sneak in another run. At one point, it actually looked like Dhoni might reach in time, but all credit had to be given to the youngster Ishan Kishan, who seems to be a big fan of Hawkeye. He took perfect aim and his direct hit was the reason for Dhoni’s walk back to the pavilion and maybe the reason for MI’s win, because had Dhoni stuck around, he would have definitely added another trophy to his cabinet.
One pivotal point in the match was the last over of MI’s innings. After Pollard rightly denied a single on the first ball, Dwayne Bravo bowled a clear wide on the second ball. The umpire must have been counting sheep because he gave no response. The next ball was an even bigger wide which Pollard didn’t even try to play, but again the umpire gave him the cold shoulder. I don’t know what the umpire was dreaming about that time, but he was definitely wrong taking that call. The birthday boy Pollard was obviously outraged. Like a small boy throwing a temper tantrum due to the decision made in a gully cricket match, he stood on the wide line, and actually walked out before the ball was even bowled. That resulted in a heated fight between him and the umpires which has now resulted in a fine. But I think that what he did wasn’t wrong because the umpire had turned a blind eye to two clear wides. That was a big blunder. Pollard’s anger showed in the last two balls which he dispatched for 8 runs. It only makes you think, what if he had not hit that ball for four. Or what if the umpire had given that as wide. How close would it have been then?
All in all, this was a great tournament, not to mention very close. The final was won by a one-Run deficit. The team on the last position on the points table would have qualified for the playoffs had they won just one more match. This was the first time that happened. The IPL has ended but the cricket season has just begun. Hello, World Cup!