Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 n.o., 9b, 1×4, 0x6) summoned the finisher in him as Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians by three wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday.
With 17 runs needed from the last over, Dhoni smashed 16 runs off the last four balls off Jaydev Unadkat to hand Mumbai an agonising seventh consecutive defeat. With four runs needed off the last ball, the coup de grace came in the form of a whip to fine leg as Dhoni deftly negotiated a low leg-stump full toss. Earlier in the over, he had deposited a full-length ball over long-off and pulled a short one to the fine leg boundary before Unadkat had foxed Dwaine Pretorius with a yorker off the first ball of the over.
Chasing 156 for the win, CSK was off to a stuttering start. If it was raw pace and swing that worked in favour of Super Kings early on, it was the short and slower ball that did the trick for Mumbai initially. Daniel Sams (four for 30) finally repaid the faith by dismissing Ruturaj Gaikwad first ball, who poked a short and wide ball straight to backward point before Mitchell Santner and Robin Uthappa succumbed to the pull shot to leave Super Kings wobbling at 66 for three after nine overs. Ambati Rayudu (40, 35b, 2×4 3×6) provided the only resistance in the middle-order before holing out to long-off trying to put away a full-toss.
Earlier, Mumbai was rocked after being put in to bat, owing to a sensational burst of pace bowling by Mukesh Choudhary (three for 19). Rohit Sharma chipped a catch to mid-on before Ishan Kishan was left on his knees with his off-stump flattened three balls later to leave Mumbai two down in the first over.
Dewald Brevis failed to live up to the chants of “AB, AB!” as he charged down the wicket and edged to Dhoni. Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav (32, 21b, 3×4 1×6) made batting look easy on a pitch which had yielded three wickets for 23 runs. Tilak Varma (51 n.o., 43b, 3×4 2×6) also rose to the occasion, seeing off a tricky passage of spin bowling with debutant Hrithik Shokeen (25, 25b 3×4 0x6) in a partnership of 38 runs off 36 balls. Lusty blows from Kieron Pollard (14, 9b, 1×4 1×6) and Unadkat (19, 19b 1×4 1×6) gave Mumbai 45 runs in the last four overs, but the Dhoni factor proved too much eventually.