The turning point
Krunal Pandya and Mitchell Johnson, with a match defining 50-run stand for the eighth wicket, guided Mumbai to their third Indian Twenty20 competition title, narrowly edging out Pune by one run in the final at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad on Sunday.
Pune had beaten Mumbai thrice this season and at the toss Rohit Sharma, Mumbai's captain, pointed to the slowness of the surface in the second innings as the reason for batting first. His ploy though faltered as Jaydev Unadkat made life difficult for Mumbai's openers, dismissing them in the third over. Ambati Rayadu and Sharma got starts but failed to capitalize. By the 15th over, Mumbai stood at 79 for 7. It was then that Pandya and Johnson came together. Pandya looked to rotate the strike early on and took his time to cut loose.
Johnson broke the ice in the 18th over by slamming Daniel Christian for a massive six, Pandya thumped the last ball of the same over for a four. Pandya clubbed Unadkat for a six in the 19th and finished the innings with a four and a six, before falling off the last ball for a 38-balll 47. Pandya had scored 30 of his 47 runs on the leg side. The final onslaught helped Mumbai post 129, which Pune failed to chase. Pandya and Johnson scored at 8.57 runs in the 5.5 overs they batted together.
What they said:
"When the wicket were falling, I wanted to play 20 overs because I was the only batsman. I knew if I stayed till the 19th-20th over I could attack. The pitch was gripping sometimes, and skidding at others. Just wanted to make sure I'm there till the end and give the bowlers a chance."
Krunal Pandya on his strategy
Pandya, Sharma lift Mumbai into final
Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya, with a 54-runs stand for the fourth wicket, were instrumental in lifting Mumbai into the Final of the Indian Twenty20 competition, by comprehensively beating an in form Kolkata by six wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on May 19.
Karn Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mithcell Johnson had ripped apart Kolkata's batting order after they had been put in to bat on a lively Bangalore surface. The impeccable display of bowling reduced Kolkata to 107 in their innings. Mumbai's top three batsmen failed to impress and they were reduced to 34 for 3 in 5.4 overs.
Sharma and Pandya provided the stability required and guided their side closer home. The duo scored at 8.10 runs in the 6.4 overs that they batted together. Sharma fell in the 12th over for 26 off 24 ballls, but Pandya and Kieron Pollard took Mumbai home with 33 balls to spare. Pandya remained unbeaten on 45 off 30.
What they said:
"Today was the perfect day. Gives you a lot of confidence, bowlers set the day for us. Taking wickets at regular intervals and keeping the score under control. That's been the hallmark of this team, we're not dependent on one individual. In the top five, we don't have any batsman. Shows a team effort."
Rohit Sharma on the win
Dhoni, Tiwary onslaught hands Pune final berth
A 73-run stand for the fourth wicket between MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary eventually made the difference and helped push Pune through to their first final in the Indian Twenty20 competition, comfortably overhauling Mumbai by 20 runs in the qualifier at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on May 16.
The hosts' seamers struck early and dismissed an in form Rahul Tripathi and Steven Smith in the first two overs. Pune looked to Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary for stability. The duo scored at 7.38 in the 10.5 overs they batted together and their 80-run stand set the platform for a late onslaught. Rahane's departure in the 12th over brought Dhoni to the fore.
He and Tiwary struggled to push the tempo as Pune limped to 121 for 3 after 18 overs. The five overs prior to that yielded just 32 without a wicket as Mumbai's bowlers found the right length. In the 19th over, Mitchell McClenaghan, aiming for a yorker produced a beamer that Tiwary dispatched to the fence. Tiwary then lofted the next ball - on length - for a six. Dhoni - with only 14 off 18 balls at that stage - eventually cut loose and clubbed McClenaghan for two sixes in the same over. He repeated the dose against Jasprit Bumrah in the final over. The late onslaught pushed Pune to a respectable 162. Tiwary and Dhoni scored at 9.95 runs in the 7.2 overs that they batted together. Tiwary fell in the 20th over for a 48-ball 58, while Dhoni remained unbeaten on a 26-ball 40.
What they said:
"We had to be a little convservative today and we timed it well to get 160. We got the momentum we needed. You really need to peak at the right time in tournaments like this. We executed our plans really well."
Steven Smith on beating Mumbai thrice this season