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HYDERABAD, May 12: Lasith Malinga produced an incredible last over to defend nine runs as Mumbai Indians claimed undisputed supremacy in the IPL by securing their fourth title with a narrow one-run win over Chennai Super Kings in a pulsating final on Sunday.
CSK needed nine runs off the last over but the experienced Lankan paceman Malinga kept his nerve to concede eight. He trapped Shardul Thakur leg before in the last ball after Watson (80 off 59) got run out two balls earlier.
Before that Jasprit Bumrah kept Mumbai in the hunt with his tidy overs and two wickets, getting rid of Dwayne Bravo and Ambati Rayudu. The premier Indian pacer produced 13 dot balls in his testing overs. Young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar also played a key role in the middle overs as he too created pressure by bowling 13 dot balls.
Both teams were tied at three IPL titles each heading into the finale with Mumbai holding the upper hand, having beaten CSK thrice earlier in the competition.
The heart-stopping finish came after a disciplined bowling performance from CSK who restricted Mumbai Indians to 149 for eight.
CSK have now lost to Mumbai for the third time in four finals.
CSK had made a steady start by reaching 53 for one in the Powerplay but Mumbai bounced back in the middle overs, removing a struggling Suresh Raina (8 off 14) before getting rid of Rayudu to have Chennai under the pump.
The biggest moment of the game came in the 13th over when Dhoni was run-out trying to steal an extra single. An alert Ishan Kishan was spot on with his direct hit and he just managed to get the better of Dhoni.
Since it involved the CSK skipper, high drama was on display as third umpire Nigel Llong saw replays with all possible angles and took his time before making a very difficult decision.
It was an outstanding effort from Chahar (1/14) in the middle overs, putting CSK under tremendous pressure as they could collect only 16 runs between 11-15 overs with the loss of two wickets.
Against the run of play, Watson walloped Malinga three fours and a six in the 16th over that went for 20 runs and kept CSK in the game.
The game-changed drastically in CSK’s favour when Watson hammered Krunal Pandya for three consecutive sixes, reducing the target to 18 off 12 but somehow Mumbai managed to keep CSK at bay.
After opting to bat in a big game, Mumbai ended up with a below-par total despite Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten 41 off 25 balls.
Deepak Chahar (3/26) was impressive once again and so was fellow pacer Shardul Thakur (2/37). The spinners, Harbhajan Singh (0/27) and Imran Tahir (2/23), too played a crucial role in limiting Mumbai. Forty-year-old Tahir also became the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with this effort, increasing his tally to 26.
Rohit Sharma-led side was dealing in sixes early on in their innings with the in-form de Kock collecting three sixes out of the four hit in the first three overs. (PTI)