Mumbai Indians confirmed their fifth IPL final as they defeated Chennai Super Kings comprehensively at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. Chasing a lowly total of 131, Suryakumar Yadav scored an unbeaten 71 and secured a six-wicket win for the table toppers. MI was the dominant side for the duration of the game. With a sensible chase, they clinched their place in the final which will be played at Hyderabad on Sunday, 12th May. Here are five talking points from the match.
Watson fails, again
CSK banked heavily on their Australian opener, Shane Watson, to come good this season. Watson was player of the tournament in Pakistan Super League 2019 which concluded before the IPL. He struggled in the first 10 matches but redeemed himself with a 96 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. After that knock, Watson resumed his bad patch. In the last four matches, he has scored only 25 runs. With such struggle, CSK will contemplate whether to persist with the Aussie or not.
Chennai batting has settled into a template – they begin slowly, build a platform and go berserk at the death. The conventional wisdom in T20s is to make the most of the Powerplay and get off to a flying start. This season, CSK have challenged the notion. While they have been successful in the league stage, yesterday it backfired against MI. CSK scored only 32 runs in the first six overs and lost three wickets in the attempt. Among all eight teams, CSK has scored the least runs in the Powerplay.
Quiet death overs
The Yellow Army set eyes on unleashing themselves in the death overs. By the time 16 overs were completed, CSK stood at 96/4 with MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu at the crease. With masters like Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah bowling at the death, Super Kings failed to take off. They could only muster 35 runs in those four overs. Bumrah conceded only 17 runs in his last two overs while Malinga and Rahul Chahar also kept things under control.
After being perceived as a lower-order batsman for the first four seasons, Suryakumar Yadav enjoyed success at the top for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2018. This season, he was assigned a middle-order role as Rohit Sharma decided to move to the top. Surya recorded single-figure scores only twice this year and got starts most times. Yesterday, he clinched the crucial moment and led Mumbai Indians to the victory with a solid 71 not out.
Chennai Super Kings is the most successful team in the IPL. The Yellow Army has the highest win percentage in the tournament. But if one team has troubled them on most occasions, then it is Mumbai Indians. While the Blue team leads in the head-to-head count, they are impeccable at CSK’s home ground. At MA Chidambaram Stadium, MI leads CSK by a whopping margin of 6-2. Rohit Sharma and his men extended the domination and handed a six-wicket defeat to Dhoni and co in their den.