If not for the pandemic, all cricket fans around the world would have been enjoying the IPL carnival right now. The 13th edition of the league was suspended until further notice due to the novel coronavirus pandemic that has brought the global sporting calendar to a halt..
As we wait for the crisis to ease and sporting action to resume, we look back at what happened last year in one of the most thrilling IPL finals that was ever played.
The fight for the fourth title
4 title wins of MI:
The stage was set for the grand finale of IPL 2019 as the winner was to be crowned as the most successful IPL franchise in the 12-year history of the league. The two power houses of the IPL – CSK and MI headed to the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad with 3 trophies each in their bag, which is much more than that of any other team.
Mumbai Indians entered the final with an upper hand over Chennai Super Kings as they had beaten their arch-rivals twice in the season, including the Qualifier 1 in what is known as the El-classico of the IPL. On the other hand, CSK defeated the much stronger Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 to seal their spot in the final.
MI elected to bat first
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bat on the Hyderabad wicket that has been well known for defending totals.
MI didn't have the best of starts to their innings with the man in form Quinton de Kock falling for 29 (17 balls) and skipper Rohit getting out for 15 inside the powerplay.
Pollard to the rescue
Dhoni led CSK were able to control the innings well with Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur providing early breakthroughs. Things went as planned for CSK until Kieron Pollard walked into bat at No. 6.
Mumbai Indians were struggling at 101 for 5 in 14.4 overs when Pollard walked in. The West Indies all-rounder smashed a 25-ball 41 to take MI to a par total of 149.
Fightback by CSK
In response, Chennai Super Kings got off to a fine start with Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson getting the team past the 30-run mark in just the 4th over.
However, a dismal show from the middle-order and the lower-middle order meant the pressure was on Shane Watson who did the star act with a hundred in the IPL 2018 final that CSK went on to win.
With Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni getting out for single-digit scores, the pressure was on the lower-middle order against the MI attack that had Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah.
Opening batsman Shane Watson went on to play a memorable knock of 80 runs and he kept CSK's hopes alive of winning the match.
But, Watson was sent back to the pavilion in the final over of the innings via a run-out, and this helped Mumbai to clinch a win by one run.
The ever so reliable Malinga
Like many, CSK vs MI games in the past, the IPL 2019 final also went down to the last over. Fans could not have asked for a better finish to the thrilling season.
CSK just needed 9 runs from 6 balls and had Shane Watson, batting on 77, and Ravindra Jadeja at the crease. Just when it looked like CSK were going to win their 4th title, Rohit Sharma threw the ball to Lasith Malinga who had conceded 42 runs in 3 overs before the final over.
At that time it looked like a bad move as Malinga leaked aplenty on the big day but Rohit trusted his senior teammate to deliver. And guess what Malinga did!
With Watson getting run out in the 4th ball of the over through a run-out, it was down to Shardul Thakur to get the job done.
4 off 2. 2 off 1. The tension in the faces of the players and in the dug out showed the world what it meant to both the teams. It was just 2 runs for a CSK win. 1 run for a Super Over. A dot ball for MI win. As the popular saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going and guess what Lasith Malinga delivered his most trusted weapon. The deadly yorker.
Shardul Thakur was given out LBW. Mumbai Indians rejoiced. They had just made history. It was a heartbreak for Chennai Super Kings.
The match had many memorable moments. It saw Jasprit Bumrah campasionately consolidating a tensed Quinton Dekock who missed a simple carry at the keepers end to give away 4 bye runs in the penultimate over.
The match also saw the dedication of Shane Watson who went onto bat with a bleeding knee to get his team through. Watto Man!
But nothing would come close to the feeling of the veteran Lasith Malinga being carried on the shoulders by his teammates after he showed the world that class is permenant, no matter what the age is.