Mumbai Indians, at 129 runs for eight wickets, expertly defended their modest total in the final of the 2017 Indian Premier League on Sunday, beating Rising Pune Supergiant, who were 128 for six, by a single run.
Pune kept Indians to a low total in the first innings and appeared set to win the IPL title in their last-ever match as a franchise, but Mumbai put on a bowling show of their own, limiting boundaries to avenge their loss in the first qualifier.
Indians won the toss and elected to bat on a Hyderabad wicket expected to produce well for batsmen. A strong knock was needed, as Pune dominated Mumbai's vaunted lineup in the first qualifier.
Supergiant came out with intensity in their final-ever match, however, taking early wickets of Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel, who combined for just seven runs as the openers. Mumbai struggled with pace and spin, scoring just 16 total runs in the first five overs.
They fared better in the sixth, finding the boundary four times, before Pune's bowlers struck again. Ambati Rayudu managed just 12 from 15, and top stars Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard both fell in the 11th over.
Film maker and cricket fan Sand-d Singh summed up Mumbai's efforts with the bat this way:
Sand-d Singh @Sand_In_Deed
Mumbai Indians batsmen in this #IPLfinal https://t.co/iPmQgGqrN32017-5-21 15:40:37
Krunal Pandya managed 47 from 38, the best score of any Indians' batsmen, and 37 quick runs from the final three overs gave the team a chance to defend. The total of 129 was still remarkably low, and per former cricketer Michael Clarke, Indians had themselves to blame:
Michael Clarke @MClarke23
To win finals you need to not play with fear. I feel @mipaltan have batted with fear tonight. They have been extremely tentative from ball 12017-5-21 15:43:18
Freddie Wilde of CricViz noted the spectacular performance of Washington Sundar:
Freddie Wilde @fwildecricket
13 runs conceded by Sundar is the fewest conceded in an IPL Final by a bowler who has bowled four overs. #IPL #IPLFinal2017-5-21 15:34:03
Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa and Daniel Christian all finished the first innings with two wickets on their resume.
Pune were now in pole position, but Mumbai's bowlers started well, taking the wicket of Rahul Tripathi early. While fellow opener Ajinkya Rahane served up a steady, patient knock, Steven Smith couldn't find a groove, and the required run rate started to climb to more than seven per over.
Midway through the innings, Pune had scored just 58 runs. ESPNcricinfo noted Supergiant needed a late surge almost as badly as their opponents did:
After 10 overs Mumbai Indians: 56-3 Rising Pune: 58-1 Pune need 72 more off 60 balls https://t.co/QQPNCNw9wb #MIvRPS #IPLfinal2017-5-21 17:12:05
Rahane was caught by Pollard in the 12th over, ending his knock with figures of 44 from 38. His replacement, MS Dhoni, couldn't find a rhythm, and as he and Smith struggled, the run rate kept climbing.
By the 15th over, it was north of nine, with Dhoni and Smith still opting to wait rather than take some risks and chase runs.
The chase came down to the wire, with Pune needing 11 from the final over. Manoj Tiwary started things off with a massive four, but he was caught on the very next delivery. Mitchell Johnson took Smith's wicket next, and a boundary was needed on the final ball. Christian did what he could, but he was run out for two, as Mumbai won the title.