The importance of the others
A great strength of Mumbai Indians is how their local players turn into match-winners. Think Jasprit Bumrah or Hardik Pandya. And keeping with that trend, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav both stepped up on Tuesday.
They had to deal with a lot of spin, and while the Chennai Super Kings batting wasn't sensible enough in the face of that threat, these two took a few balls to settle down, and for the most part, tried hitting with the turn. Suryakumar got to his fifty with a beautiful late cut off Imran Tahir, practically stealing the legbreak out of the wicketkeeper's gloves.
That didn't mean he - or Kishan - were shy of hitting against the turn. Suryakumar took Tahir for two fours over mid-on, but they were off a full toss and an overpitched delivery. #ShotSelectionForTheWin
They came together with Mumbai needing 111 in 16.4 overs and put on an 80-run partnership. That's simply game-breaking.
It must have helped, though, that CSK's spinners just couldn't hit the right length. That's not just our analysis. MS Dhoni himself said so: "I think we could have still bowled slightly better. I think it was a wicket where you need to bowl slightly away from the batsman['s front foot], close to the off stump or middle stump and let the ball do the talking. I feel we were slightly more up [full in length] than that which means as a batsman you can negate the spin."
Why didn't Malinga bowl out?
He is among the best T20 bowlers ever... and he only bowled three of his four overs in a crunch game? What's up with that? Well, we think it's because of his record against Dhoni.
Mumbai did give him in the 19th over, backing his experience to come good, but Dhoni whacked him for two mighty sixes.
There was another reason why Malinga wasn't given his full quota. The pitch. It was a proper turner. Rohit Sharma took that on board and went with Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya to bowl the 15th and 16th overs. They yielded only eight runs.
Most captains with Bumrah and Malinga in their line-up would be tempted to save their overs for the death. But Rohit was flexible.
A turning point?
Chepauk has been a spinner's paradise this IPL. Mumbai probably had a hunch about the conditions and dropped fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan to bring in offspinner Jayant Yadav. It meant they were going in with only three overseas players, but that was an easy price to pay.
The spinners bowled four of the six Powerplay overs. There were 16 dot balls in that, and far more importantly, three wickets - Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina (both of them had scored fifties in the last game) and Shane Watson.
That said, CSK could have done better. Both Raina and Watson fell trying to hit the ball too hard and against the turn; shots that didn't please their captain one bit.
With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman and Dustin Silgardo