Steven Smith’s Slice Of Misfortune
Wow Wow Wow !! What a thrilling end it was to the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. An absolute cracker jack of a game with both sides fighting their hearts out to be the winner. The Mumbai Indians locked horns with the Rising Pune Supergiants on a sluggish Hyderabad pitch. RPS had history by their side as they had already defeated Mumbai thrice in the tournament but Mumbai had a phenomenal record in the finals
Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket which was slightly on the slower side and could very well assist the bowlers. The duo of Parthiv and Lendl Simmons had given them quick starts before and were expected to do the same in the final as well. However, the pressure of the final does get over everyone. They preferred to be a bit cautious and managed to score only 7 runs in the first two overs. And then came, Steve Smith’s trump card “Jayadev Unadkat”. He trapped in the openers with his slower deliveries including a scintillating catch of his own bowling and the Supergiant’s were off to a dream start with 2 down for just 7 runs on the board. Now, the onus was on Rohit and Ambati to steady Mumbai’s ship. But they soon fell prey to the leg spin of Adam Zampa and that too in the same over.
You got to give credit to Steve’s field placements for both the wickets. This was a double blow for Mumbai and after that, there were a string of wickets for RPS. And in no time, the score board read 79-7. They were in deep trouble now and Krunal Pandya was the solitary recognized batsman out there at the crease, striving hard to get his team to a respectable total. “Cometh the hour, Cometh the Man” his innings of 47 runs at a stage, where every batsman had almost gave in, would go down in the IPL records books in Golden Words. Mumbai managed to get merely 129 on the board, which was below par, but still Mumbai at least had something to play for.
The Supergiants were in great position to win their first IPL title (probably their last). This is what the equation was after 12 overs. 58 needed of 48 balls with two specialists of T-20 cricket on the pitch, Smith and Dhoni. But guys, you never know what’s going to happen next in cricket. Here beings the action.
Steve Smith continued to play the slow game and out of nowhere, there was a bleak, hope for Mumbai Indians to come back into the match when Bumrah had Dhoni caught behind. 23 runs were required of the last 2 overs, and one could see the tensed faces in the Pune dug out for the first time in this match. It was time for Smith to accelerate because the match was slipping out of the hands of Pune. The Pune captain responded to the call with a magnificent six over long off.
The match was surely on here. 11 needed off the final over with one of the fastest bowlers in the world, Mitchell Johnson, standing like a wall in front of Manoj Tiwary and Smith. And to everone’s surprise, Tiwary hit a four off the first ball!!!. However, Johnson held his nerve and Tiwary chipped the next ball straight down the throat of long on.
Here is the moment of the match.
Steve Smith sliced a fullish delivery, and guess what, Ambati Rayudu took an excellent catch under pressure. There was stunned silence in the Pune campaign and Smith had to take a long walk back to the pavilion. There was nothing wrong with shot, but when you have an off day, nothing goes in your favour. Everyone was on the edge of their seats with 4 required off just 1 ball. Dan Christian was on strike. He flicked the delivery in the gap between long on and square leg, the fielder misfielded, threw the ball to Parthiv ad he dislodged the bails before the batsman completed the third run. And yes, Mumbai won the final by just 1 run!!!!!!
Oh my god! What a nail biting final this was. The fire crackers erupted and so did the crowd. The Mumbai Indians pulled out this match from the jaws of defeat. But do you really think that Pune lost this match, or they simply let this match slip away from their hands? Is Steve Smith’s innings of 51 runs in 50 deliveries justified in a T-20 match? Has Dhoni lost his crunch of finishing games? Well there are many questions which remain unanswered .Comment in the comments section and let the world know what do you reckon about these questions.
But one thing is for sure, that this match will go down in the history of IPL as one of the best matches ever played.