Few things are more exciting than when two of the most successful and loved teams in the Indian Premier League take on each other, even more so when they play the kind of cricket they did.
The usual pair of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis opened the batting for CSK after Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl first. Gaikwad failed to capitalize on his excellent form and got out early by edging the ball to a backward point. Moeen Ali and Faf had an excellent partnership and got Chennai Super Kings to 112.
Moeen was in beautiful form, hitting the ball all around the park with exquisite timing. Faf was playing a solid inning until he reached 20 runs and started accelerating. Moeen edged the ball to the keeper, getting out with 58 on the board. Faf was the next to go as he tried to ramp Pollard over fine leg but couldn’t get the timing and ended up hitting it straight to the fielder. Suresh Raina disappointed yet again, hitting the ball straight to deep mid-wicket and getting out for 2 runs.
Three crucial wickets went down quickly, and it felt like the batting lineup might crumble, but it was not to be. Ravindra Jadeja was given out LBW off Pollard, but he reviewed the decision without even discussing it with his partner. The decision was overturned as the ball was pitching outside the leg stump.
Two balls after that, Jadeja hit the ball in the air towards the bowler, but a diving Pollard could not hold on to the catch. Ambati Rayudu took on the bowling like there was no tomorrow. He launched a barrage of sixes to maintain the run rate of 10. He reached his half-century in just 20 balls and finished with 72 runs off 27 balls. CSK finished with a massive 218 runs.
Deepak Chahar bowled the first over for CSK, and Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Cock opened the batting for MI. Both the batters knew that it would take something special to chase this target down and accelerated from the get-go. Rohit was given out LBW when he was on 11 runs, but the decision was overturned after he reviewed as there was a clear spike on ultra edge. They gave a great start to their team, scoring 10 runs per over. Rohit got out caught at deep covers, and the partnership ended at 71 runs in 7.3 overs. Surya Kumar Yadav got caught behind for 3 runs off Jadeja, and de Cock hit the ball straight back to Moeen Ali.
Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya saved the day for MI. Pollard was at his best, power-hitting the ball into the stands. His 50 came in just 17 balls, and he ended up with 87 runs off 34 balls. Pandya played the supporting role while scoring at a good pace until Sam Curran bowled a terrific yorker and caught him blocking the stumps.
Pollard was dropped in the deep when he was on 58 runs by, of all people, Faf du Plessis. One of the best fielders in the world dropping a catch which could have changed the face of the game, is a sight one does not get to see often. Hardik Pandya did what he does best- hit some unreal sixes. His innings of 16 off 6 balls was crucial to MI’s win.
16 runs were required off the last 6 balls, but Lungi Ngidi could not hold up under pressure. He bowled a couple of full tosses, one of which hit the fence. MI needed 8 runs off the last 2 balls. Pollard hit a 6 off the first ball and ran 2 off the second to get his team over the line. It was a thrilling finish and a heartbreak for CSK fans. Pollard won the Player of the Match award for his extravagance knock, which single-handedly changed the result of the match.