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29th Match (N), Wankhede, April 14, 2024, Indian Premier League
(20 ov, T:207) 186/6

CSK won by 20 runs

Player Of The Match
Cricinfo's MVP
114.7 ptsImpact List

Pathirana's four-for overshadows Rohit's ton as Mumbai go down

Mumbai's innings looked like it was going smoothly but some sensational defensive bowling helped CSK seal the game

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
Chennai Super Kings 206 for 4 (Gaikwad 69, Dube 66*, Hardik 2-43) beat Mumbai Indians 186 for 6 (Rohit 105*, Tilak 31, Pathirana 4-28) by 20 runs
Sensational defensive bowling from Chennai Super Kings did what might have seemed unthinkable: successfully defend a total in the night at Wankhede Stadium. And it was not a huge total: pushed just over 200 by a MS Dhoni cameo of 20 off the last four balls of the innings after Shivam Dube had continued his dream season with an unbeaten 66 off 38.
For large parts it was a contest that fit the billing: between the two most successful teams in the IPL and two of the three most popular teams. For large parts, it seemed the defending champions CSK would be outgunned. Jasprit Bumrah restricted them with four overs for just 27 and the Mumbai innings looked like it was going smoothly, but Matheesha Pathirana started the comeback with two wickets in his first over.
Still, Mumbai were favourites going into the last seven, needing 83 with eight wickets in hand, but their fast bowlers led by Pathirana executed their plans of making batters hit into the bigger part perfectly, eventually winning by 20 runs. Rohit Sharma scored a century but it was only to Mumbai's detriment: he scored just 14 off 14 between overs 13 to 18 and then found another wind when the task had become mathematically impossible.
Cat and mouse for starters
This match was also a tactical classic from both sides. CSK promoted Ajinkya Rahane to open because he was carrying a niggle and thought it was better if he just batted in the powerplay. In a way it worked tactically too: Ruturaj Gaikwad hasn't been going at a million miles an hour in the powerplay and could also be there for when Bumrah bowled. Either way, Rahane didn't last, and Gaikwad had to come out in the second over. Mumbai then started to bowl cheap overs of spin before Dube got a chance to bat.
When Dube came in, that was it for spin, and Bumrah came back to bowl a second over inside the first ten for only the second time this IPL. Except that Mumbai did have to bowl overs of less-than-express pace. Dube took a toll of Hardik Pandya and Romario Shepherd as Gaikwad slowed down from his starts of 24 off 12 to offer a catch on 39 off 31. Rohit dropped him, and Gaikwad took 29 off nine before he got out.
Bumrah stifles but Hardik blinks
Hardik started reining CSK back in with clever use of a wide slower ball to get Gaikwad. Then Bumrah just bowled two ruthless overs full of attempted yorkers. Only one boundary came off the 17th and 19th, leaving CSK at 180 for 3. The problem for Mumbai was, that they had to now go to Hardik, Shepherd or spin for the last over.
The captain took the challenge on, but came a distant second to Dhoni, offering him the length to hit a hat-trick of sixes. Dhoni's IPL this year: 25 balls, 59 runs, no dismissal.
Pathirana has to intervene
Yet again Mumbai started like they would make short work of a target around 200 after gunning RCB's 196 down in 15.3 overs. Rohit and Ishan Kishan looked smooth and brutal. Seven overs, 70 runs, not a sweat broken.
Enter Pathirana, coming back from an injury break. The first ball was a loose one on the pads, and Kishan found midwicket with precision. Six feet on either side and it would have left a hole in the boundary boards. However, following that lucky break, Pathirana was sensational. He welcomed Suryakumar Yadav with a 151.2kmph wide yorker and followed it up with a wide bouncer with the deep third placed fine just for the ramp. The assist came from Mustafizur Rahman, who took it overhead, flicked it back up, stepped outside, and came back to take the catch.
The middle overs
Ravindra Jadeja bowled four overs on the trot for 37, which is commendable in dewy conditions on a Mumbai night. Rohit, though, seemed to have overcome his recent threat of left-arm spin by taking 22 off 13 Jadeja deliveries. Runs kept coming from the other end until Pathirana came back.
A defensive masterclass
It was all in Pathirana's basket now. Three overs to bowl out of seven with Mumbai needing just 83 with all the firepower in the dugout. Pathirana began with a dot to push it over two a ball for the first time. Then a subtle slower ball got the fluent Tilak Varma out. Then both former and current captains of Mumbai froze.
Shardul Thakur followed that over with wide-line slower balls. Both Rohit and Hardik faced three each for a single each. A frustrated Hardik even wasted a review on a wide. Tushar Deshpande followed it up with a boundary-less over and the wicket of Hardik. Rohit seemed to have run out of gas and timing.
Tim David raised some hope with successive sixes off Mustafizur but he again went wide and out of David's reach to get the wicket. Pathirana provided the finishing touch by rattling Shepherd's stumps with a quick, straight delivery, the license for which he got because he had the bigger leg-side boundary to play with.
However, it was the slower balls from the other end that complemented Pathirana. At one point, they had bowled 13 for just four runs. They ended up with 27 slower balls for 36 runs, which was still way better than Mumbai's execution of the delivery.

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo

Win Probability
CSK 100%
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Over 20 • MI 186/6

CSK won by 20 runs
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