Skipper M.S. Dhoni finishes it off in style after opener Dwayne Smith puts the team on track for a successful chase
M.S. Dhoni the finisher (22 not out off 12 balls) trumped Lasith Malinga the wrecker (4-0-15-2) in a thriller at the Pepsi IPL-7 as the Chennai Super Kings skipper produced the six which mattered in the final over to guide his team to a four-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
Chasing 158 for victory, the visitors survived some tense moments before getting past the line in 19.3 overs.
Malinga caused a frisson of excitement in the 17th over with a deceptive yorker to dismiss Faf du Plessis, and three balls later Ravindra Jadeja was fortunate to survive a leg-before appeal.
Malinga steamed in to bowl the 19th over with CSK needing 17. He struck with the fifth ball to remove Jadeja, the visitors still 11 runs away. However, Dhoni displayed his chilling command of situations in the chase, and Mumbai Indians’ stranglehold over matches at the Wankhede was broken.
Chasing under eight runs per over, the visitors kept pace in the Power Play (38 for one).
CSK was yet to get over the loss of prolific opener Brendon McCullum — to a delayed leg-before verdict in favour of Praveen Kumar — as MI wicketkeeper C. Gautam stumped Suresh Raina off a wide ball.
From 56 for two, Dwayne Smith kept a cool head to pilot the chase, he and du Plessis playing each ball on merit and seizing each opportunity to score off balls pitched in the zone.
Smith clouted a six over mid-wicket off Pollard, and banked on placements against Harbhajan.
CSK crossed 75 at the halfway mark and cruised to 112 for two in 15 overs.
CSK relied on the waiting game, Smith and du Plessis content on muscling sixes in between long stretches of patient batting. The two put on 64 in a third-wicket stand before Smith bowed out after a 57 off 51 balls (5x4, 3x6).
He had done his part in putting his team on course.
Earlier, Ambati Rayudu justified his retention by Mumbai Indians with a controlled knock of 59 (43 balls, 2x4, 4x6) against an organised attack, backed by astonishing catching.
He took over run-making responsibility, even as the bowlers kept the batsmen on a tight leash, relying on timing to clear the field.
Dhoni had the openers Gautam and Simmons dealing with spin straightaway. The former swept against Badree and top-edged to McCullum at square-leg.
Simmons flexed his arms for two straight sixes off the West Indies tweaker, and the home side moved to 42 in six overs.
Dhoni then got the consistent Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja into the mix. The left-arm spinner had Rayudu stepping out and lofting the ball to long-off where Manhas messed up the chance.
Simmons dared to step out for a slog against Ashwin but could not gain elevation and du Plessis at long-on tracked the ball for a neat catch.
After the departure of Simmons (38, 38 balls, 3x4, 2x6), the MI batsmen were restrained till the 15th over.
From 99 for two, Rayudu and Rohit Sharma attempted to increase the pace. However, the Super Kings bowlers stuck to the plan and the fielders responded with superb catching and breathtaking stops at the ropes, where Raina and du Plessis stood out.
Rayudu brought up his 50 off 38 balls, and later Kieron Pollard strode in to loud cheers.
The hitters swung into action, and so did the CSK fielders in the deep. Ashwin (three for 30) reaped rich reward for some tight bowling.