Dwayne Smith led the triumphant march of the Mumbai Indians with three stunning boundary blows in the last three balls and provided a cliff-hanger finish to a splendidly contested DLF-IPL-V match at the Wankhede stadium here on Sunday.
A home team victory seemed far-fetched with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) staging a remarkable comeback through the catching and fielding effort of Faf du Plessis that ejected the brilliant Sachin Tendulkar from the middle and Robin Peterson and left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja causing the emphatic dismissals of Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma in a pressure situation.
In a matter of a few overs MI declined from 134 for one to 158 for eight and expecting the worst, but Smith after regaining strike in the fourth ball of the final over sent down by Ben Hilfenhaus hit a six over long on and followed it with back-to-back boundary shots for the men in blue and gold to invade the field from their dig out and join Smith in a famous win by two wickets.
MI required 14 runs of the last three balls and with Hinfenhaus — who had bowled a maiden over to James Franklin — having conceded two runs and taken the wicket of Lasith Malinga of his first three balls, it looked a certain win for the two-time champion, but Smith, a replacement for Mitchell Johnson, perhaps surpassed himself, startled the fielding team and gave an mind-blowing win for his team. MI is now on 14 points and on firm ground to proceed to the play offs.
Chasing 174, MI lost the first wicket when Franklin fell to Hilfenhaus, but after a long wait of one month, Tendulkar focused hard enough to produce a gem of an innings and along with Rohit competently dealt with the bowling of R. Ashwin, never allowing things to go out of control.
They put on 126 for the second wicket in 81 balls. He had almost outsmarted Ashwin, while trying to clear him wide of cover, but du Plessis caught an astonishing catch with his right hand in full stretch upwards. CSK celebrated his dismissal and was in full control to clinch the game, when Smith loomed large and smashed the big blows.
Finally a surface most suitable to the shortest version of the game was rolled out by the ground staff of the Wankhede Stadium headed by former Test opener Sudhir Naik.
The first hints of a potential high scoring match came about when opener Murali Vijay swung his straight, across the line, pulled and hooked to extract a heavy penalty of Munaf Patel's second over without any fear of being falling a victim to a deep fielder.
It's just the kind of wicket for someone line Vijay — who had faced 59 balls in six previous matches and collected a meagre 45 runs — was looking for get his rhythm and in a little over half an hour, he put his team on way to an impressive total of 173; CSK's second highest in twelve matches this season.
Left arm seamer R.P. Singh and Malinga led a strong a comeback by the home team and causing a CSK slump from 158 for three to 173 for eight wickets, but Vijay, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravi and M. S. Dhoni hit altogether eight sixes and helped themselves to some hefty collection of runs in six overs that delivered close to 90 runs, with Patel collared for 24 runs in his second over.
Vijay started on a confident note driving left arm spinner Peterson's first ball of the match to the cover fence, but he was quite lucky when he under-edged R. P. Singh's first ball to the left of wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik and pick up his second short boundary shot.
The focus was clearly on Vijay, returning to the side in the previous match against Deccan Chargers, but R. P. Singh after dropping a sitter off when du Plessis attempted to work Patel on the onside, ran out the South African with a direct hit at the bowlers end in the next over sent down by Malinga.
Only in the course of an odd over that the CSK run rate fell lower than seven per over, but Raina and Bravo's bright stand for the third wicket ensured that their side would eventually post a stiff target.
It was a stroke of luck for MI that resulted in the departure of Raina who cut a short and wide ball into the hands of Franklin at point. Bravo hammered two fours when Malinga returned for his second spell, but a screaming yorker-length hit his leg and middle stumps and following his dismissal CSK's innings lost way, but still posted a total to bring the home team under considerable pressure.
Chennai Super Kings: M. Vijay b R.P. Singh 41 (29b, 4x4, 3x6), F. du Plessis (run out) 9 (11b), S. Raina c R.P. Singh b Franklin 36 (21b, 3x4, 2x6), D. Bravo b Malinga 40 (33b, 4x4, 1x6), M.S. Dhoni c Rohit b R.P. Singh 25 (15b, 2x4, 1x6), A. Morkel b R.P. Singh 3 (3b), R. Jadeja c Franklin b Malinga 9 (6b, 1x6), S. Badrinath (not out) 1 (1b), R. Ashwin c Harbhajan b Malinga 0 (1b); Extras (lb-4, w-5): 9; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs: 173.
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (du Plessis), 2-52 (Vijay), 3-114 (Raina), 4-158 (Bravo), 5-162 (Dhoni), 6-169 (A. Morkel), 7-173 (Jadeja), 8-173 (Ashwin).
Mumbai Indians bowling: Peterson 2-0-22-0, R.P. Singh 4-0-28-3, Munaf 4-0-46-0, Malinga 4-0-25-3, Harbhajan 3-0-14-0, Smith 2-0-26-0, Franklin 1-0-8-1.
Mumbai Indians: J. Franklin c Vijay b Hilfenhaus 1 (9b), S. Tendulkar c du Plessis b Ashwin 74 (44b, 11x4, 1x6), Rohit b Jadeja 60 (46b, 6x4, 2x6), D. Karthik b Bravo 11 (5b, 2x4), A. Rayudu b Jadeja 0 (2b), D. Smith (not out) 24 (9b, 2x4, 2x6), R. Peterson (run out) 0 (2b), Harbhajan c (sub) b Bravo 0 (1b), L. Malinga b Hinfenhaus 0 (1b), R.P. Singh (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (w-3): 3; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 174.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Franklin), 2-134 (Tendulkar), 3-147 (Karthik), 4-148 (Rayudu), 5-149 (Rohit), 6-151 (Peterson), 7-158 (Harbhajan), 8-159 (Malinga).
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Hilfenhaus 4-1-34-2, A. Morkel 3-0-34-0, Ashwin 4-0-28-1, Bravo 4-0-39-2, Jakati 3-0-27-0, Jadeja 2-0-12-2
Man-of-the-match: Dwayne Smith.