IPL 2017 Final: Mumbai Indians break the ‘jinx of table-toppers’

first_imgMumbai Indians bossed IPL 2017 for the better part of the season and finished top of the table, thanks to 10 victories in 14 league matches. They were brushed aside by Rising Pune Supergiant in the first qualifier but took the hard route to the summit clash, after decimating Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier in Bengaluru.On Sunday, MI were chasing a record third IPL title. They were up against RPS, who were playing their final IPL match after a fabled two-year journey. Not that the odds were stacked heavily in favour of MI, who had lost their three previous matches to their Maharashtra rivals this year but something about Rohit Sharma’s team tells you they are superb at acing finals.Mumbai Indians are used to winning T20 finals. And the core of their team – Rohit, Harbhajan Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and Ambati Rayudu have been around for a long time. They were up against a team which had had a nightmarish season in 2016 but rose to the occasion this year, thanks to two great statesmen – MS Dhoni and Steve Smith – and a combination of youthful vigour and international class.But MI were just abysmal with the bat on the big night. They were done in by Jaydev Unadkat, whose double blow to remove openers Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons proved to be telling. Mumbai could never recover from those early jolts and only a gritty 47 by Krunal Pandya ensured the two-time champions escaped the embarrassment of posting the lowest-ever score in an IPL final.advertisementMumbai were restricted to 129/8, the lowest-ever total by a team batting first in IPL finals.It was a bizarre performance from a team which is possibly the most balanced in recent IPL history. Their batsmen have been superb this year Patel has given them brilliant stars, Simmons replaced Jos Buttler and played some scintillating knocks while Rohit recovered from a bout of poor form while Pollard was always at hand to deliver significant runs. Rayudu, who by the players’ own admission, also flopped.Mumbai were left tottering for most of the innings and only Krunal’s late blitz gave them some hope. There was more than a ray of hope when Rahul Tripathi fell to Jasprit Bumrah early in Pune’s innings. But Krunal dropped an easy chance of Ajinkya Rahane when he mistimed a Mitchell Johnson delivery. Thereafter, Rahane and skipper Steve Smith looked like steering RPS home with some classy shots.Rahane and Smith were classy alright but they were not really blazing away at any stage. There might have been a few frayed nerves in the MI dressing room as Rahane departed in the 12th over but MS Dhoni’s presence in the middle with Smith could have soothed them. However, the latter never got going and fell after the required rate kept soaring up. And once Dhoni departed, it all kept going south for Pune. Smith tried valiantly but 10-runs-an-over for the last three overs against Lasith Malinga, Bumrah and Mitchell Johnson turned out to be too much.Johnson had 11 to defend in the final over with Manoj Tiwary and Smith at the crease. He removed both those men and got rid of Dan Christian with four needed off the final ball of the season. Rohit said they deserved to be in the final after a fine show throughout the league stages. One might even suggest they deserved to win the IPL after such dominant performances. Coach Mahela Jayawardene lauded MI’s character for pulling off a thriller – the champions eventually won by one run.Since 2008, only Rajasthan Royals had won the IPL after topping the league stages. On Sunday, Mumbai joined a rather ‘elite list’Meanwhile, RPS missed out on glory which would have been in line with recent trends. Teams finishing second have won the IPL five times since 2011.Here’s a look at the winners and table-toppers in 10 years of the IPL. WINNERSTABLE TOPPERS2008: Rajasthan RoyalsRajasthan Royals2009: Deccan ChargersDelhi Daredevils2010: Chennai Super KingsMumbai Indians2011: Chennai Super KingsRoyal Challengers Bangalore2012: Kolkata Knight RidersDelhi Daredevils2013: Mumbai IndiansChennai Super Kings 2014: Kolkata Knight RidersKings XI Punjab2015: Mumbai IndiansChennai Super Kings2016: Sunrisers HyderabadGujarat Lions2017: Mumbai IndiansMumbai Indianslast_img

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