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Cricket news - MI vs CSK -Throwback to the biggest IPL rivalry
MI and CSK played out a thriller for the ages in last year's final, when Rohit Sharma's side emerged as the most successful in the short history of IPL
Now we can argue about this or simply submit to the statistics: there has been no bigger rivalry in the IPL than the one between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The two teams have won a combined seven titles from the 12 IPL seasons played thus far. They've headlined four finals and played five other playoffs games. In games at neutral venues, the head-to-head stands at 5-5 but the four-time champions Mumbai Indians lead 18-12 in all contests, including two CLT20 games.
Along the way, the two teams have contested some memorable games. Here's a quick throwback to six of the best.
1. Setting the field straight - DY Patil Stadium, IPL 2010
The 2010 final was contested in the backdrop of Lalit Modi's imminent axing from the tournament he created and his subsequent exile from BCCI. CSK helped themselves to a par total of 168/5 on the back of an unbeaten 35-ball 57 from Suresh Raina. In response, Mumbai Indians' think-tank responded with one flawed strategy after another. It began with playing Abhishek Nayar at No.3. If that wasn't enough, they sent Harbhajan Singh at four while Ambati Rayudu, Saurabh Tiwary, JP Duminy and Kieron Pollard lay in wait. The logic, it was later explained, was that they wanted to keep the big-hitting Pollard from facing CSK's troika of spinners.
The punt meant Pollard walked into bat with 55 needed from 24. He ransacked 22 off an over bowled by Doug Bollinger but fell in the 19th over when MS Dhoni had Matthew Hayden stationed at a very straight mid-off (he also had a long-off) and Pollard found the very fielder with a full-blooded drive to gift wrap CSK's maiden title.
2. Pollard stands tall - Chepauk, IPL 2013
Crowd-favourite Pollard atoned for his previous slip in this 2013 fixture between the sides at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, clinching a thrilling nine-run win for the visitors almost all on his own. It was the Pondulkar (Ponting+Tendulkar) season and Mumbai were still to become the steely unit that Rohit Sharma would lead to the title. Here at Chepauk, they'd slipped embarrassingly to 83 for 6 when Pollard joined forces with Harbhajan Singh to script a comeback. The Trinidadian showed unusual restraint, playing out as many as 19 dots. He more than made up from the other 19 he faced, finishing unbeaten on a 38-ball 57 to give Mumbai 148 to defend.
CSK shot themselves in the foot in the chase and were left gasping at 66/5 when MS Dhoni took charge. Even as his partners returned to the hut, Dhoni fought on and took the equation to 40 off 18. He then plundered 17 off a Pollard over to make it 23 off 12. That became 12 off 6 as Mitchell Johnson disappeared over the stands as well. Off the first ball of Munaf Patel's final over, Dhoni attempted a whipped-flick to a length ball and appeared to have gotten another six until Pollard, fittingly, leapt up and completed a sharp catch to silence the home crowd.
Dhoni turned to Negi with MI needing 40 off 18. Then Hardik caused mayhem...
3. Welcome Mr. Pandya - Chepauk, IPL 2015
This IPL 2015 encounter in Chennai shot a certain Hardik Pandya into the spotlight in a space of 8 balls. It was also one of those rare games when MS Dhoni openly acknowledged that he blundered tactically. It was a typical late-season encounter at Chepauk where 160 was par and spinners ruled the roost. CSK made 158 and used R Ashwin and R Jadeja to choke the Mumbai chase through the middle-overs, so much so that captain Rohit Sharma made a painstaking 22-ball 18. When he was dismissed in the first ball of the 18th over, he repeatedly made a hand gesture towards the dressing room as he walked away.
He would reveal later that he was summoning for Pandya to be sent out to bat ahead of the ready-to-go Harbhajan Singh. With 30 needed to be scored off the final two overs, Dhoni took a call to bowl Pawan Negi for the 19th over when overs of both Mohit Sharma and Ashish Nehra remained. Negi, who until then was economical, ended up conceding four sixes in an over - three of which were hit by this scrawny 21-year-old player - and MI coasted to victory in the next over, ending CSK's 10-match winning streak at home. A new IPL hero was born.
4. Just three balls for Dr. Smith - Wankhede Stadium, IPL 2012
The 2012 encounter between the MI and CSK at the Wankhede Stadium featured a star turn from a player who has turned out both in the Mumbai blue and the Chennai yellow. Before CSK saw value in Dwayne Smith, the opener, he played as an all-rounder and a No.6 batsman for Mumbai Indians. Here, chasing CSK's 173, the hosts were coasting to victory following a 126-run second-wicket stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma. However, from 134/1, Mumbai suffered an inexplicable collapse and entered the final over of the chase needing 16 to win.
Ben Hilfenhaus kept Smith to a single off the first ball and then cleaned up Lasith Malinga off the next. When RP Singh squeezed a ball to extra cover and scampered for a single, the equation read 14 off 3. Effectively, Hilfenhaus needed one more good ball to close the game. As luck would have it, he delivered a low full toss, which Smith bludgeoned into the stands at long-on for six. Another low full-toss was then creamed past the bowler for four. Hilfenhaus returned for one final attempt at a yorker and bowled a half-volley on off-stump which Smith drilled down the ground for another four, sparking the Mumbai dugout to empty itself on to the ground for a league game. This game also featured a famous Dhoni press-conference gem: "Not every bowler can bowl yorkers at the end."
CSK announced their re-entry from a two-year ban in some style...
5. Bravo magic and a hopping Jadhav - Wankhede Stadium, IPL 2018
This was a narrative for the big screen and was rightly turned into a documentary later. CSK were returning after a two-year suspension and were pitted against their biggest rivals in their first game. In the two years they were out, Mumbai had sneaked ahead on the IPL leaderboard with a third title. CSK's sentimental affinity for their old heads at the auction table earned them the sobriquet of "Dad's Army", which they lived up to for a large portion of the game. Mumbai scored 165 and had CSK at 105 for 7. With overs from Mustafizur Rahman and Jasprit Bumrah to come at the death, this game was over.
Dwayne Bravo, though, wasn't given the memo that everyone else at the Wankhede was reading from. He hit two sixes and a four off Mitchell McClenaghan in the 18th over and then launched a brutal offensive on Mumbai's leading death bowler, Jasprit Bumrah. Bravo hit Bumrah for three sixes and took a two before falling off the last ball of the 19th over for a stunning 30-ball 68. CSK needed 7 off the final over for a win but were nine down and needed Kedar Jadhav to hobble out with a torn hamstring.
After playing three dots, Jadhav chose the only option available to him and scooped Mustafizur Rahman for a six over fine-leg. He pierced the off-side ring for a four next ball, setting the tone for a series of fairytales over the course of the season.
6. Watson, Malinga and a finish for the ages - RGI Stadium, IPL 2019
"It was very funny as to how both teams were only passing on the trophy from one team to the other. Both teams made a lot of mistakes, the team that made one lesser mistake won," said MS Dhoni after CSK lost yet another IPL final, this one seeing MI re-grab the mantle of the most-successful franchise.
If anything, the error-riddled game only added to the drama quotient. But this game was more than just two elite teams faltering in a title game. Dhoni was involved with his shrewd tactical interplay as well as in a technology debate when he was adjudged run-out. Where one icon - Pollard - stepped up with a 25-bal 41, another - Raina - had a game to forget.
Fittingly it boiled down to two other veterans, Malinga and Watson. The latter, bloody knee and all, had launched Krunal Pandya for a trio of sixes and then found a benevolent miss from Quinton de Kock had left him metaphorically grabbing one ear of that gleaming trophy. Then Malinga stood atop his bowling mark, plundered already for 42 from his three overs on the night, with a little magic still left in his whip. Watson's physical struggles got the better of him and Shardul Thakur had to score 2 off the final ball. Malinga found the perfect slower-ball yorker to catch him plumb in front of the stumps, capping wild scenes of joy from those in blue.
Do you have a favourite MI v CSK match that hasn't made this list? Send them to us at [email protected]
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