Chennai rarely loses in the IPLs. They lose even more rarely at home. They generally bowl first at Chennai after winning the toss. They did not do any of this against Mumbai Indians in the crucial qualifier and were left to play for the second time in the qualifier-2 to reach the finals.
Winning the toss Chennai surprisingly decided to bat first despite the early assistance Chepauk pitch has offered through the season. They managed just 32 in the powerplay losing three wickets of Du Plessis, Watson and Raina. When CSK lost Murali Vijay as the fourth wicket, they had just 65 on the board in the thirteenth over. MS Dhoni and Rayudu could only double the score in the last 8 overs to get Chennai to a fighting 131, by Chepauk’s standard, in the first innings. Dhoni and Rayudu remained not out in the end but failed to get to a par score on a difficult surface.
Chennai would have expected a lot of help from the pitch and given the presence of three spinners in their ranks, CSK might have fancied their chances. Things must have been brighter when they got Rohit Sharma in the first over and de Kock in the fourth. But thereafter, Chennai just couldn’t find a way past Suryakumar Yadav and effectively Mumbai. CSK got two more wickets near 100 run mark but could not make a game out of it and eventually lost by 6 wickets with 9 balls to spare.
Ambati Rayudu top-scored for CSK with a 37 ball 42 and MS Dhoni scored 37 at the strike rate of above 125. Next best was Murli Vijay’s run-a-ball 26. Rest played 5 overs at a strike rate of around 70 or below. Imran Tahir was the peak of the bowlers with 2 wickets but went for aplenty. Jadeja was most economical with 18 off 4 overs. But rest just could build the pressure handing an easy win to Mumbai.
Mumbai is a different team when they play against Chennai. They are the only team to beat CSK twice in this tournament at Chepauk. They love going to the IPL finals and they rarely lose once they do. Mumbai must be set to go for yet another title.
Mumbai, luckily as it eventually turned out, lost the Toss against Chennai and got to field first. Malinga, Rahul Chahar, and Jayant Yadav reduced Chennai to 13 for 2 by the end of 4th over. Krunal took out Watson on the final ball of the powerplay to reduce Chennai to 32 for 3. In the next 6.1 overs, Mumbai conceded only 33 runs taking out more wicket on a rank turner. It was only when Dhoni came to the crease that Mumbai started leaking a few runs. But Bumrah made sure that the hard work earlier did not go to waste as Mumbai stopped Chennai to just 131 runs.
Although Mumbai was chasing just 132, the rank turner and presence of 3 quality spinners in CSK could have made things difficult. Moreover, Mumbai lost the openers by the 4th over. However, Suryakumar Yadav played brilliantly negotiating the spin yet not letting the run-rate down. He single-handedly scored more than half the runs for Mumbai. His 80 run partnership with Ishan Kishan, who played a steady hand, sealed the game for Mumbai and paved the way for yet another IPL final.
Rahul Chahar was the peak of the bowlers picking up 2 for 14 in 4 overs. Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav picked up one wicket each. Player of the match Suyakumar Yadav scored 71 out of 132 at a strike rate of above 130. Ishan Kishan was second best with 28 off 31. These two steadied the ship and took it to the destination as well.
Chennai Super Kings will play Delhi Capitals who beat SRH in a thrilling eliminator. Chennai had a rare loss at home and that too in a crucial encounter. Their decision bat first was baffling and so was their approach to batting at the top of the order. However, CSK would come back strongly in the second qualifier to qualify for yet another IPL final.
Mumbai Indians have qualified for the finals for the fifth time in the IPLs. They have a daunting record of winning 3 out of the 4 IPL finals. They defeated CSK almost effortlessly at home. If CSK comes to the final, MI has the experience beating them twice in the current season. With that, all look set for Mumbai to clinch yet another IPL title.
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