Mumbai Indians v/s Chennai Superkings
Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
A tournament that started with 8 teams in the dustbowls of Sharjah and Dubai is now done to its final stage. Four teams have gone through from the group stages, and we’ve had some shocking results in the final few games of the stage.
Nobody saw it coming and nobody expected it. Two games will forever stand out, not only in the 2014 edition, but for years to come—because of how audacious they have been. It is only appropriate that it comes at the end of a long-drawn group stage that was quite frankly getting boring towards the end.
KXIP played the most exciting cricket and were the first team to qualify. They finished first by a long way.
What’s surprising is the team that finished second.
The Kolkata Knight Riders stole second spot from the stuttering Chennai Superkings in their final match. An absentee named Yusuf Pathan played his first significant innings for KKR in two years, and shocked the Sunrisers to achieve the target of 162 in less than 15 overs. In doing so, KKR leapt above CSK with a higher NRR, and accomplished what many thought was impossible a few weeks ago. KKR were once fighting for 4th spot, and after a disastrous Dubai phase—where they lost 5 out of their first 7 games—they stormed back as the best team of the India phase, earning them an extra opportunity to reach the final. Pathan blew away a disappointing Sunrisers team—traditionally the best bowling team of the tournament—to make the most of dropped catches. What were the odds of IPL’s most disappointing Indian player going bonkers in their final game against Steyn and co? If this wasn’t scripted, then the next game certainly had to be…
The Mumbai Indians. Their name was mentioned in whispers throughout an underperforming tournament, where they were lucky to even be mid-table before their last league game of the tournament. That they were still in with a mathematical chance against the Royals was a miracle, thanks to some uninspiring cricket by Watson’s men in the final stages. It became even more unlikely after the Royals put on 188, leaving Mumbai to get it in an outrageous 14.2 overs.
As the old online proverb goes- what happened next will shock you. And perhaps the anti-corruption cell, but that’s a story for later.
Powered by yet another disappointment of IPL7- Kiwi Corey Anderson, who was dropped from their previous 3 games- MI overhauled the massive target in 87 balls with a last-gasp six by Aditya Tare. There were scenes of jubilation and madness at the Wankhede. This was a scarcely believable game of cricket as a 20-over game, forget a 14.3 over second innings where MI’s most expensive signing finally came good at their most crucial moment.
And just like that, Mumbai Indians were through into 4th place- a jailbreak of epic proportions- to face another surprise team CSK in the first eliminator of T20 cricket league.
This was the final of the sixth edition of the T20 cricket league, where MI trumped CSK to win the T20 cricket league for the first time.
This time, it will be a battle for survival. MI have momentum on their side, while CSK must be a bit shellshocked by their sudden fall in the standings. Nevertheless, Dhoni isn’t one to not reach the semis- they have reached the semis every year- and CSK are the team nobody wants to face in the knockouts.
MI finally got their balance right AFTER the departure of Lasith Malinga. Funny game this, much like they managed after Sachin Tendulkar and Ponting dropped themselves last year. Hence, they look like favorites to pull off the biggest upset in the T20 cricket league history…a few days after pulling off the biggest upset in T20 history.