April 25: The team from Chennai put up a spirited performance in the field, unlike the one by Mumbai Indians who dropped Suresh Raina twice to hand the match to CSK.
It was clearly Suresh Raina’s day - the southpaw scored 57* off 35 balls, took a brilliant catch and claimed the wicket of Harbhajan Singh with his off-spin helping the Chennai emerge winners for the first time on the grandest stage.
It was a difficult wicket to bat on and the slowness of the pitch was reflected in the sluggishness of the Mumbai Indians’ chase. Abhishek Nayar, who joined Sachin Tendulkar after the fall of Dhawan, initially looked out of touch.
But the all-rounder finally seemed to have found his groove. But then Nayar got himself run-out in the 12th over. Tendulkar’s angry reaction to Nayar’s run-out showed how desperate he was to win the trophy.
It was then that Mumbai seemed to lose the plot. Harbhajan Singh was sent ahead of Kieron Pollard. Harbhajan, though, failed in his pinch-hitting role. And when Tendulkar fell in the 15th over, the match seemed all over.
Pollard, though, had other ideas. The tall Trinidadian then decided to show what a big mistake sending him late was by letting his bat do the talking. He hit the unplayable Bollinger for 22 runs in the 18th over (the scorecard: 4, 6, 2, 4, 0, 6) to raise hopes of an improbable win. But when the all-rounder got out in the 19th over, it was actually all over.
Earlier in the night, Chennai Super Kings began on a cautious note with Matthew Hayden looking to settle down and find his form. The Super Kings’ strategy seemed to be one of not losing early wickets and then exploding at the end. They were hitting the occasional boundary and six, but nothing spectacular.
Murali Vijay was outscoring Hayden, but then the stylish CSK opener failed to read a slower one from Dilhara Fernando and holed out to Saurabh Tiwary. Haydos couldn’t deliver on the big night either, with another slower delivery getting a wicket. This time, Kieron Pollard was the bowler.
CSK skipper MS Dhoni and his deputy joined forces to rescue the innings. Raina and Dhoni set about making it a real contest.
Raina was his usual effervescent self finding the boundary at regular intervals. He would be grateful to the MI fielders, having first been dropped by Zaheer Khan on 28 and later being given another life – a moment that proved to be the funniest moment of the match. Fernando and Abhishek Nayar went after a Raina skier but ended up looking facing each other blankly having missed the catch altogether.
Dhoni departed after a quick-fire 22 that included one audacious six off Pollard.
Raina’s two lifelines proved costly for MI with the southpaw hitting Pollard for 18 runs in the 16th over. CSK ended the innings at 168, the highest target by a team in an IPL final.