The El Clasico of the Indian Premier League turned out to be the most thrilling affair thus far in the 14th edition. Coming with five wins on the bounce, Chennai Super Kings were in search of hitting sixer of victories, although a whirlwind knock from Kieron Pollard led Mumbai Indians to accomplish the league’s second-highest chase ever.
Trent Boult struck in the first over to dismiss the in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad cheaply after the Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit Sharma had inserted CSK. Although, what followed from thereon was some insane ball-hitting as Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali added 108 off just 61 balls, also getting to quick-fire individual fifties en route to that. Kieron Pollard, who would later run havoc with the bat, also proved to be the trickster with the ball on a day when even the best in the business like Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult were taken to the cleaners.
Claiming two quick wickets, Pollard pulled things back for his team but little did either of the sides know about a storm that was set to hit. Smoking seven maximums in a 27-ball knock, Ambati Rayudu sent MI’s bowlers to every corner of the ground, adding what was CSK’s second century stand in the game, alongside Ravindra Jadeja, who played the perfect foil. Rayudu’s 72 pushed his team well beyond the 200-mark.
Out in pursuit of 219, Mumbai Indians were provided a brisk start by openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock. Although, Super Kings clawed their way back in, striking thrice in a space of 13 balls to derail the chase and treat the opponent the same way they treated them in the middle-overs earlier. But if Rayudu stood up to deliver for CSK, Pollard took that role for MI.
Brad Hogg’s cry for the spirit of the game
Scripting an incredible comeback from a perilous position, the Caribbean all-rounder unfurled the most brutal of assaults, hitting eight sixes and six fours in an 87-run knock that came in just 34 balls to take his team across the line on the last ball of the game.
Although the game did not end just as simply. Both the teams kept pulling things away from each other in a see-saw battle and Mumbai’s ask of 16 in the final over had come down to two runs needed off the last ball. The act of a batsman backing up too far a run has constantly raised questions about the “spirit of the game” and bowlers’ rights.
On the final ball, Dhawal Kulkarni, the non-striker backed up too far and took advantage as MI completed the double and won eventually by four wickets. Much to CSK’s dismay, the throw from the deep was not the best of throws and that anyway left little chance for run-out. However, Kulkarni’s act again reignited the debate with Brad Hogg tweeting “Sorry again for my harp. Last night last ball 2 runs needed and the non-striker again taking advantage. Is this in the spirit of the game?”
— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) May 2, 2021
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