Cricket Column: How Mumbai Indians defied luck to deny Jai-Veeru the last laugh

Sports Monday 22/May/2017 17:37 PM
By: Times News Service
Cricket Column: How Mumbai Indians defied luck to deny Jai-Veeru the last laugh

For a team that seemed to have got almost everything going in their favour right from the start of the game and incredibly blessed with luck until the penultimate ball of the night, Rising Pune Supergiant’s failure to get themselves across the line looked out of sync with the ultimate reality that we got to witness on Sunday. Viewed against the backdrop of the pain and emptiness reflected on the face of Steve Smith at the presentation ceremony, and in light of the general mood and momentum the Pune skipper got to enjoy for the better part of the night, the big smile on the face of Rohit Sharma had a surreal touch to it.
At the innings break, Pune players galloped out of the ground with their hand firmly on the handle of the trophy, and the below-par target brought the best out of even Harsh Goenka who until then had been busy teasing and taunting his brother’s buys on Twitter.
His Jai-Veeru filmi (Sholay) take on the Smith-Dhoni camaraderie on May 21 when Mumbai Indians looked unlikely to post even 120 runs on the scoreboard may have been inspired by the prospect of Smith and Dhoni walking together into the sunset, with their teammates making merry around the IPL season 10 trophy in the backdrop.
With an overall 4-1 scoreline, Pune had the momentum going in their favour in the final. In the matter of luck, Smith and his boys had the whole of it — not just the slice. Jaydev Unadkat’s two wickets in the third over were the result brilliant bowling and great focus shown by the youngster, but the catch he took to dismiss Lendl Simmons required a bit of luck for it to actually happen. Without luck, such chances might pop out of the hands.
And then, when Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu were putting together a partnership, Smith’s direct throw was bang-on to send Rayudu back to the dressing room. That’s practice, no doubt, but how could we miss the smile of the lady here?
Now, look how unlucky Mumbai Indians were. Ajinkya Rahane was key to chasing such a low score as it offered him time to play his kind of innings without any scoreboard pressure clouding his mind. What looked like an easy chance was dropped by Krunal Pandya in the fourth over when Pune had just 23 runs on the board.
There was a mix-up between Smith and Rahane in the sixth over and Smith would have been sitting in the dugout if the Hardik Pandya throw had hit the stumps. If that’s not enough, here’s the final slice: a normally sharp Hardik just couldn’t reach out to the Dan Christian slog off the fifth ball of the final over, helping Pune in the process to add two more runs to the total and bring down the target to a not-so-impossible four runs off the last ball.
Pune had their way paved with luck whereas Mumbai received not even a glance from the lady. Christian could not hit the last ball to the boundary to put it beyond Mumbai Indians, but even then you could spot a bit of destiny going in favour of Pune. The fielder in the deep fumbled, almost giving Washington Sundar and Christian a chance to attempt at a third run that would have tied the score and offered another chance to Pune.
Just at that time, it seems, nature conspired in favour of Mumbai. The rest is history.
The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman