Mumbai justified their first place league finish as they beat Chennai Super Kings for the third time in IPL 2019 to book their spot in the final in Hyderabad.
The MA Chidambaram stadium has been a fortress of sorts for CSK this season, but not aganst MI, for whom middle order batsman Suryakumar Yadav made a brilliant 71 as they comfortably defeated the Super Kings by six wickets.
Chennai included Murali Vijay in place of the injured Kedar Jadhav, while Mumbai, perhaps seeing the slow nature of the pitch, brought in Jayant Yadav for Mitchell McClenaghan.
Somewhat surprisingly, Chennai opted to take first guard after winning the toss and they started disastrously as the in-form Faf du Plessis fell for just 6.
Suresh Raina’s poor run with the bat continued as he was dismissed by Yadav for 5 runs.
Yadav then had a key role to play in picking up Shane Watson, taking a good catch as the Australian veteran fell to Krunal Pandya for 10 on the final ball of the powerplay.
The pair of Vijay and Ambati Rayudu anchored the innings with a 33 run stand for the 4th wicket before the former was stumped by De Kock off Chahar for a run a ball 26.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rayudu provided some much needed impetus to the innings by adding an unbeaten 66 run stand for the fifth wicket and propelled the Super Kings to a competitive score of 131/ 4 at the end of their allotted 20 overs.
Teenager Rahul Chahar was Mumbai Indians’ best bowler as he bagged 2/14 in his four overs, while fellow spinners Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav claimed a wicket apiece.
Chasing a modest score of 132 runs, MI got off to a disastrous start as Rahul’s cousin Deepak dismissed skipper Rohit Sharma leg before wicket in the very first over.
Harbhajan Singh then got into the act, by claiming the key wicket of Quinton De Kock, who was caught by compatriot Du Plessis for just 8 runs.
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan brought the chase back on track with a valuable 80 run stand for the third wicket, before the latter was bowled by Imran Tahir for 28.
There was a slight hint of worry in the visitors’ camp when Krunal fell for a first-ball duck, but Yadav calmed the nerves with some fine boundaries, and took MI home with plenty of spare.
With this win Mumbai have now reached their fifth IPL final, and few will bet against them continuing their magnificent streak of winning this tournament in odd years (2013, 2015 and 2017)
Suryakumar Yadav was declared the Man of the Match for his superb 71 (54).
The second qualifier will be played between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad at Visakhapatnam on May 8 2019.