Mumbai 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 Indians
Trump boards Air Force One for travel to Naval Station Norfolk from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US. Photo: ReutersUS President Donald Trump declared on Saturday that he has “complete power to pardon,” as his administration confronts ongoing investigations of possible ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia.In a series of early morning Twitter messages, Trump aired renewed frustration with his attorney general, the special counsel leading the Russia probe, and Republicans in Congress who are struggling to advance his legislative agenda.But Trump’s comment about pardons, tucked into an attack on the media, raised the possibility that he was considering his options if the investigations do not turn out the way he hopes.Trump did not specify who, if anyone, he might consider pardoning. His tweets appeared to be written in response to a report by The Washington Post this week that Trump and his legal team have examined presidential powers to pardon Trump aides, family members and possibly even himself.Reuters has not confirmed the newspaper accounts.“While all agree the US President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS,” Trump wrote.The Washington Post, citing current and former US officials, reported on Friday that Russia’s ambassador to the United States was overheard by US spy agencies telling his bosses that he had discussed campaign-related matters with Trump adviser Jeff Sessions last year, when Sessions was a US senator.Sessions now leads the Justice Department as Trump’s attorney general.“These illegal leaks…must stop,” Trump tweeted.At the Senate confirmation hearings for his Cabinet position, Sessions initially failed to disclose his 2016 contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and later said they were not about the campaign.In March, Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. During an interview with The New York Times this week, Trump lashed out at Sessions, saying he would not have chosen him for attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself.Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election but continues to use her as a foil, questioned why Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller were not investigating former FBI Director James Comey or Clinton, for her email practices as secretary of state.“So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Counsel looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 emails deleted…,” he tweeted.Presidential AuthorityScholars have raised questions about the scope of the president’s legal authority in issuing pardons. If Trump moved to pardon himself sometime in the future, the US Supreme Court might have to decide on the constitutionality, some have speculated.Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing by federal investigators who are probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.Mueller is looking into any relationships or contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians during the election. Congressional committees also are exploring Russia’s influence on the US election.Trump traveled on Saturday to Norfolk, Virginia, where he spoke at a commissioning ceremony for the aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R Ford, named for the Republican president who held the White House from 1974-1977.In his remarks, Trump made no mention of the Russia controversy, focusing his speech on the need for more robust US military spending.After the trip, Trump retreated to his golf course near Washington and had lunch with his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, policy adviser Stephen Miller and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, a White House official said.Priebus’s presence in the entourage came a day after Trump named a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, reportedly over Priebus’s objections.The weekend trip comes ahead of a busy week of Russia-related activity.The Senate Judiciary Committee said on Friday that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort had agreed to negotiate whether to be interviewed by the panel in its Russia investigation.Trump Jr, Manafort and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and now one of his senior advisers, all met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. That meeting was held in Trump Tower in New York after the lawyer offered damaging information about Clinton.The White House is also working on Trump’s campaign promise to US healthcare system.In his Saturday tweets, Trump had words for Republican senators who have not been able to agree on a way forward to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, which has become known as Obamacare and which Trump promised to do away with as president.“The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!” he tweeted.