Little-known Uttarakhand engineer Akash Madhwal bowled a dream spell as his five-wicket haul took five-time champions Mumbai Indians one step closer to a summit clash after thrashing Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in IPL Eliminator, in Chennai on May 24.
Mumbai Indians scored 182 for 8 in 20 overs and it seemed 15 short given explosive batting firepower of Lucknow but Madhwal’s incredible figures of 3.3-0-5-5 and some terrific ground fielding led by skipper Rohit Sharma saw Gautam Gambhir mentored side crumble for a paltry 101 in 16.3 overs.
There were three run-outs in what turned out to be a forgettable evening for the Sanjiv Goenka owned franchise.
MI will now take on Gujarat Titans on May 26 in the second Qualifier in Ahmedabad to decide on Chennai Super Kings’ opposition for the big final on May 28.
If the first part of the evening belonged to a fiery Naveen ul Haq, whose 4 for 37 made everyone feel wary about MI’s final score, Madhwal reassured the faith that his skipper showed in him.
The delivery that clinched the final was one bowled to dangerous Nicholas Pooran (0) from round the wicket. He delivered it from slightly wide off the crease and it shaped inward before nipping away with a touch extra bounce forcing the southpaw to edge it to Ishan Kishan behind the stumps.
That literally broke LSG’s back and on either side of that wicket, Madhawal took four more to enhance his reputation having been a tennis ball cricketer till the age of 23.
Skipper Rohit, who has been pilloried for his fitness threw himself around and the relay throw to run Krishnappa Gowtham out was a fabulous effort.
Earlier, flamboyant Afghanistan seamer Naveen ul Haq picked up four wickets as Lucknow Super Giants managed to keep Mumbai Indians under-check at 182 for 8 in 20 overs.
Naveen, who has been under spotlight since his angry exchanges with Virat Kohli during a league game against RCB, was constantly booed by the Chepauk crowd but he did well enough to dismiss MI skipper Rohit (11 off 10 balls), batting mainstay Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 20 balls), last match’s hero Cameron Green (41 off 23 balls) and the ever dangerous Tilak Verma (26 off 22 balls).
Naveen getting Surya and Green in one over could well prove to be decisive as MI were atleast 15 short of par-score. MI also needed to replace Surya with Impact Player Nehal Wadhera, whose 23 off 12 balls took them past 180-run mark.
Wadhera smacked a six and hit two fours in the final over bowled by Yash Thakur (3 for 34) to boost MI’s score.
The impressive Moshin Khan (1-24) conceded only 6 runs in the penultimate over before Wadhera stepped up the pace in Thakur’s next, the final over of the innings.
Skipper Rohit (11, 10 balls, 1x4, 1x6), who began slowly, fell trying to up the pace, jumping out to hit Naveen only to find Ayush Badoni in the way in the fourth over.
Yash Thakur struck in the next over, getting Ishan Kishan (15, 12 balls, 3x4) to nick one to the keeper.
Suryakumar and Green gave some momentum to the innings with a 66-run third wicket partnership in a little over six overs.
Green, who hammered a ton in the final league match against SRH, slammed six boundaries and 1 six while Yadav hit two maximums and an equal number of fours in his 20-ball knock.