KARACHI: Chennai Super Kings struck form when they needed to and defeated Mumbai Indians in the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by 22 runs.
MS Dhoni’s men may have been the underdogs throughout the tournament but they peaked when it mattered as they first notched up a competitive 168 for five and then contained the mighty Mumbai batting lineup to 146. Suresh Raina (57) and Dhoni (22) added 72 for the fourth wicket off only 35 balls to take their team from a precarious 67 for three to 139 in the 18th over. Raina, who finished with 520 runs in the tournament, went all out against the Mumbai attack, notching up his fourth half-century that included three fours and three sixes. Zaheer Khan dropped Raina in the 16th over and off the next four deliveries, 16 runs were plundered by the 23-year old.
Raina’s partnership with Dhoni came at a time when Mumbai were on top and by the time Dhoni departed, out to a top-edge, Chennai were in total control. When Mumbai came out to bat, fireworks were duly expected. However, that failed to happen. Doug Bollinger had Shikhar Dhawan dismissed for a duck before captain Sachin Tendulkar (48) and Abhishek Nayar (27) added 66 for the second wicket but at a snail’s pace. Nayar was run out and Harbhajan Singh was surprisingly promoted to number four, a ploy that backfired and Mumbai were reduced to 73 for three.
Tendulkar continued to battle on but with split webbing. He was caught out nearing his sixth half-century in the IPL but still ended the league as the leading run-scorer with an aggregate of 618 runs. For Mumbai - after they were on a roll in the group stages - it was a complete shock, but it was another feather in Dhoni ‘s cap before he travels to the Caribbean to lead the Indian team in the World Twenty20.