Having defeated Rajasthan Royals in the second qualifier, Mumbai Indians have rightfully earned their place alongside Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 6. This is only the second time Mumbai have made it to the summit clash in the event which is now six years old. The last time they were in the final, in 2010, they lost to Chennai. Hence, Mumbai would be keen to avenge the defeat this year. As Mumbai gets set for battle, here’s a look at their path to the final.
Mumbai did not kick off the event on a winning note. In their opening encounter, they went down to Royal Challengers Bangalore by two runs in a tense encounter. Dinesh Karthik’s valiant 60 went in vain. Following the early setback, Mumbai got things right. They defeated Chennai by nine runs, Kieron Pollard smashing a match-defining half-century. In the next encounter, they overcame Delhi Daredevils by 44 runs; Dinesh Karthik made 86 and Rohit Sharma an unbeaten 74. Mumbai’s winning streak continued as they got the better of Pune Warriors by 41 runs. Sharma again slammed an unbeaten half-century even as Mitchell Johnson grabbed three wickets.
Setback and recovery
After an impressive start, Mumbai stuttered somewhat. They were cleaned up by Rajasthan Royals for 92, to lose by 87 runs. This was followed by a nine-wicket defeat at the hands of Delhi Daredevils as well, the only match in which Virender Sehwag batted like he did during his glory days. Mumbai though found their winnings ways back. Dwayne Smith’s sizzling 62 took them to a win over Kolkata Knight Riders. Smith followed it up with another half-century against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dhawal Kulkarni also picked up three wickets in this game, as Mumbai won by 58 runs. After beating Kings XI Punjab in a low-scoring game, their winning streak came to an end as Sunrisers Hyderabad thrashed them by seven wickets.
Easy progression to the play-offs
A couple of defeats notwithstanding, Mumbai were always in the race for the top four. They beat Chennai a second time, on this occasion by 60 runs as Johnson and Ojha picked up three wickets each to bundle out Chennai for 79. Buoyed by the triumph, they defeated Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad and Rajasthan in the following matches. Sachin Tendulkar made a 28-ball 48 against Kolkata, Kieron Pollard blasted 66 off 27 balls against Hyderabad while Aditya Tare made a quickfire 59 against Rajasthan. Mumbai did go down to Punjab by 50 runs in their last league game, Azhar Mahmood putting up a brilliant all-round showing, but they had done enough to earn a place in Qualifier 1.
Second time lucky
Having defeated Chennai on two earlier occasions, Mumbai couldn’t repeat the same in the first qualifier, and went down by 48 runs. However, considering the rules of the tournament, they got a second shot at earning a place in the final and, this time they made no mistake, overcoming Rajasthan by four wickets in a close encounter; Harbhajan Singh picking up 3 for 23.
--By A Cricket Analyst