In front of a full house at Eden Gardens, Chennai were brought to their knees by an inspired Mumbai outfit who surged to a first title with a most convincing 23-run triumph.
IPL: Mumbai Indians dethrone Chennai Super Kings to win title
It was not quite the great final Rahul Dravid had hoped for, but the title clash of Indian Premier League 2013 was no less edifying, courtesy of a wonderful display of hostile pace bowling from the Mumbai Indians.
Chennai Super Kings are the masters of the big occasion, but in their fifth final in six editions of the IPL, they were blown away by the sheer ferocity of the Mumbai attack, spearheaded by Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson. In front of a full house at Eden Gardens, Chennai were brought to their knees by an inspired Mumbai outfit who surged to a first title with a most convincing 23-run triumph.
Chennai began the match strongly after Rohit Sharma opted to put runs on the board, strangling two wickets inside the first seven deliveries. It took a spectacular unbeaten 60 off just 32 deliveries from Kieron Pollard - who astonishingly only faced 13 balls in the last five overs - for Mumbai to reach 148 for nine.
Aware that his team needed to make an early statement, Rohit summoned Malinga, to bowl the first over. Malinga, all nerves and profligacy in Qualifier 2 against Rajasthan Royals, fired out Michael Hussey with a screaming, inswinging yorker off the third delivery of the chase, then had Suresh Raina fending a lifting delivery to short square-leg off the next delivery.
Chennai never really recovered from losing their two most prolific scorers so early in their reply and slipped rapidly to 39 for six.
And when the spinners stepped in to do some damage of their own, it was all over. MS Dhoni, batting too low at No 7, made a battling unbeaten 63 but was always ploughing a lone furrow as Chennai subsided to 125 for nine, and a chastening defeat.
Mumbai's batting stint was neither the most impressive nor the most intelligent, particularly in the last part of their innings when Pollard was a mute spectator at the non-striker's end. Dwayne Smith, their form player, was undone by a delivery from Mohit Sharma that jagged back in during the first over and Aditya Tare received an excellent yorker first-ball from Albie Morkel.
Rohit then tamely poked Morkel back to him, forcing Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu to rebuild rather than look to accelerate. The pair added 36, but at 52 for four, Mumbai had plenty of work ahead.
Fortunately for them, the man walking in knew a thing or two about striking a cricket ball. Pollard smashed his first delivery, from Chris Morris, back past him, the ball crashing into the boards at long-off long before the bowler had completed his follow-through.
He did offer a half-chance off Ravindra Jadeja, but Ravichandran Ashwin at slip was a trifle wide, and the moment had passed. Pollard was then just six out of 66 for four in the 12th over; he took that as his cue to lash out.
Dwayne Bravo got rid of Rayudu with a full delivery on his way to four for 42 and the Purple Cap with 32 wickets - the first time a bowler has topped 30 wickets in a season - but it was all about Pollard. When he did get the strike, he made it count, reaching 50 in just 31 deliveries.
R Kaushik is deputy editor at Wisden India
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