James Fiztpatrick | cricket20
The Chennai Super Kings clinched their first Indian Premier League title after a nail biting 22 run victory over the Mumbai Indians after Keiron Pollard almost won the game for the Indians with a dramatic 10 ball cameo.
Having suffered a disastrous start, losing three early wickets, the Super Kings were rescued by Suresh Raina who scored a wonderful half century to help set the Indians a target of 169 to win the 2010 Indian Premier League.
Chasing such a high total the Indians struggled on a rapidly slowing wicket that was becoming harder and harder to score on as the Super Kings spinners created a strangle hold on the game as the Indians lost wicket at regular intervals.
By the time Tendulkar was dismissed in the 14th over the Super Kings could start to celebrate but a cameo innings of 27 from Pollard from just 10 balls set up a tense finish.
The Super Kings got off to an assured start as they navigated a tricky first over bowled by Harbhajan Singh who had a couple of light hearted LBW appeals turned down by umpire Rudi Koertzen.
After suffering a disappointing tournament with the bat Matthew Hayden’s lack of confidence was apparent early on as he struggled against the unorthodox bowling of Lasith Malinga.
Having won the toss the Super Kings needed Hayden to contribute with the bat, the Aussies responded in superb fashion when he dispatched a delivery from Harbhajan Singh in the third over for a huge six over long-on to break the shackles.
After enjoying a positive, all be it slow start the Super Kings would’ve wanted Vijay and Hayden to increase the run rate after taking so long to get underway but the pair succumb to the building pressure losing their wickets in the space of 9 balls.
Vijay (26) was the first of the openers to lose his wicket after he tried to kick some life into the innings. The young Indian misread a slower ball from Dilhara Fernando as he tried to smash the bowler over long-on.
Although Vijay got power behind the shot he also got to much elevation which saw the ball drop short of the boundary into the safe hand of Saurabh Dilhara to leaving the Super Kings 44-1.
Hayden soon followed after he tried to pull Kieron Pollard over square leg, the Aussies got into the shot to early and top edged it through to wicket keeper Ambati Rayudu as the Super Kings suffered a big set back.
With the Super Kings openers back in the dug out the Indians were well placed to further restrict the new batsman as Sachin Tendulkar brought Harbhajan Singh back into the attack as the runs started to dry up with only 58 conceded by the Indians inside the first 10 overs.
The lack of runs contributed to the dismissal of Subramanian Badrinath (14) who picked out Malinga out on the boundary who took a straight forward catch to give Fernando his second wicket of the night as the Super Kings were reduced to 67-3.
The wicket of Badrinath brought MS Dhoni to the crease and the Super Kings skipper signalled his intentions to attack by smashing Pollard for a huge six over deep midwicket.
Dhoni was joined at the crease by Raina and the two new batsmen started to rebuild the Super Kings stuttering innings. With a few slices of luck the pair built the foundations of an important contribution.
The Indians dropped Raina twice on his way to a superb half century which helped the Super Kings reach 108-3. With 5 overs to go and seven wickets in hand Raina attacked Pollard in the 15th over smashing 20 runs off the West Indians final over.
Fernando conceded 12 runs in the next over before Zaheer Khan struck back to remove Dhoni (22) and halt the Super Kings late charge after the skipper was caught by Fernando at extra cover.
Albie Morkel wasted little time on his arrival at the crease by smashing the first ball he faced for a boundary as he carried on where Dhoni had left off. The South African enjoyed an important cameo at the end if the innings by bringing up the Super Kings 150 with a huge six.
The final over was bowled superbly by Malinga, the Sri Lankan, who is one of the world best death bowlers bowled 4 dot balls before conceding 11 runs from the final 3 balls after bowling a wide to allow the Super Kings to reach 168-5.
After restricting the Super Kings during the first half of the innings the Indians will be disappointed to have allowed Raina to change the course of the game dropping him twice early on in his innings.
The Super Kings ended their innings with the momentum and it continued at the start of the Indians run chase thanks to spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who became only the third bowler to record a maiden in the Indian Premier League final.
Doug Bollinger showed once again why Australia will be a weaker team in the West Indies during the World Cup without him when he dismissed Shikhar Dhawan (0) in the second over to increase the already mounting pressure on the Indians.
Having survived a run out in the third over Tendulkar, partnered by Abhishek Nayar started to patiently rebuild the Indians innings on a rapidly slowing wicket that made scoring harder and harder as the game went on.
With the run rate creeping over 10 an over the pressure was really starting to mount on Tendulkar and Nayar as neither batsman could force the issue as the Super Kings spinners started to get a strangle hold. Muttiah Muralitharan was the most impressive conceding just 4 runs in his first 2 overs.
With the game slowly drifting out of the Indians hands Nayar tried to rebalance the power by smashing 15 runs of the bowling of Shadab Jakati as the Indians reached 58-1 after 10 overs needing another 111 runs from just 60 balls to claim victory.
With Nayar looking more and more comfortable at the crease the Super Kings struck back running out the wicket keeper after he went for a quick single as he tried to give Tendulkar the strike.
The Indians skipper was visibly angry with Nayar’s dismissal, smashing his bat into the ground but it was the second time in the innings that Tendulkar had turned down an easy single.
The lose of Nayar brought Harbhajan Singh to the crease but even though the Indians had lost a wicket the arrival of the big hitting spinner was just what they needed as the run rate crept over 11 for the first time in their run chase.
Unfortunately for the Indians Harbhajan Singh’s time at the crease was limited to just 2 balls after he was trapped LBW by Raina to leave the Indians 73-3.
With time running out Tendulkar was joined at the crease by Rayudu with the Indians now needing a special innings from their skipper to save the game, but any chance of a fairy tale finish was ended when the little master was dismissed on 48 after he was caught by Vijay out on the boundary.
Jakati picked up his second wicket of the over 3 balls later when Saurabh Tiwary (0) was caught by the impressive Raina as the Indians slumped to 100-5. With another 69 runs needed from 31 balls JP Duminy amazing came to the crease ahead of the big hitting Pollard.
Duminy (6) offered little resistant and his dismissal finally brought Pollard to the crease who opened his account with a boundary before smashing Bollinger for a huge six off the next ball.
The carnage continued as Pollard scored two runs before smashing another four and then his second six of the over to leave the Indians needing another 33 runs from the last 12 balls.
Albie Morkel managed to slow down the rampaging Pollard conceding just 6 runs before the West Indian was caught by Hayden off the last ball of Morkel’s over to all but seal the victory with the Indians still needing another 27 runs from the last 6 balls.
Pollard departed having scored an amazing 27 runs from just 10 balls to leave the Indians wishing he had come into bat earlier in the innings.