Chennai Super Kings 156 for 6 (Gaikwad 88*, Jadeja 26, Milne 2-21) beat Mumbai Indians 136 for 8 (Tiwary 50*, Bravo 3-25, D Chahar 2-19) by 20 runs
The match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians is often dubbed as the El Clásico of the IPL and once again it lived up to its billing.
Batting first in Dubai, Chennai were 24 for 4 at the end of the powerplay, with Ambati Rayudu additionally having retired hurt. But Ruturaj Gaikwad struck an unbeaten 88 off 58 balls, laced with nine fours and four sixes, to lift Super Kings to 156 for 6.
With Ravindra Jadeja (26 off 33), Gaikwad added 81 off 64 balls for the fifth wicket. That set the platform for some late-overs hitting, which Gaikwad and Bravo (23 off 8) did with aplomb, Super Kings taking 58 off the last four overs.
Mumbai were without Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, but it was still not a daunting target. Super Kings' seamers, led by Deepak Chahar, kept striking at regular intervals though and had Mumbai 58 for 4 in the tenth over.
Saurabh Tiwary and stand-in captain Kieron Pollard showed fight but once Josh Hazlewood trapped Pollard lbw, with Mumbai still needing 70 from 41, the contest was all but over. In the end, Mumbai could muster only 136 for 8 despite Tiwary (50* off 40) staying till the end.
Boult, Milne jolt Super Kings
In IPL 2020, which was also played on these shores, Trent Boult was the most successful powerplay bowler. Once again, he found swing straightaway, pinging Gaikwad's pads with the second ball of the match. Luckily for Gaikwad, the ball was doing too much and would have missed the leg stump.
Faf du Plessis wasn't as lucky. Three balls later, he chased a wide one and ended up slicing it to short third man and Boult had yet another powerplay wicket.
From the other end, Adam Milne continued his form from the Hundred. In his first over here, he had Moeen Ali playing on the up only to mistime and be caught in the covers. The last ball of that over Milne banged in short; Ambati Rayudu tried to duck under it but it didn't bounce as much as he had anticipated. Instead, it jagged in to hit Rayudu flush on the left elbow, forcing him to retire hurt.
It's no secret that Suresh Raina struggles against the short stuff. Two short balls from Boult and Raina looked at sea even against the fuller deliveries. He swung wildly at a length ball and the top edge flew to the third-man boundary. He tried again but this time managed only the toe end of the bat, with a piece of wood also coming off. The ball lobbed towards point where Rahul Chahar pouched it.
At that stage, Super Kings were 7 for 3, effectively 7 for 4, but it was about to get worse. On the last ball of the powerplay, MS Dhoni nailed a pull against Milne. Only that he had hit it straight to Boult at deep-backward square leg.
Gaikwad fifty leads the fightback
Gaikwad and Jadeja started the rebuilding process with singles and twos, and took the side to 44 for 4 at the halfway stage. In between, Quinton de Kock dropped Gaikwad off Rahul when he was on 19 off 23.
Gaikwad didn't look back after that. In the 12th over, he stepped out against Krunal Pandya to time him over long-off for the first six of the innings. Off the last ball of the over, he reverse-swept Pandya over backward point for four.
He reached his half-century, off 41 balls, with a pulled four off Pollard. Two balls later, he flat-batted the bowler for another four.
Late fireworks lift Super Kings
Gaikwad went on an all-out attack after reaching his half-century, launching Jasprit Bumrah's slower ball over wide long-off for his second six. Bumrah did remove Jadeja, with a slower one, and that brought Bravo to the crease.
From there on, it was mayhem. Bravo triggered it with the last ball of the 18th over, launching Milne inside-out over wide long-off for a six. Boult returned for the 19th over but he is not the same bowler at the death as he is at the top of the innings. Bravo (two sixes) and Gaikwad (one six, one four) ransacked 24 from the over, the most Boult has ever conceded in a T20 over.
Bumrah dismissed Bravo with the second ball of the final over but Gaikwad had saved his best for the last. On third ball of the over, he got down on one knee and drove Bumrah over cover for four. Off the last ball, he once went down on his knee but this time whipped the low full toss over deep square leg for a six.
Mumbai stumble in the chase
de Kock started the chase positively, hitting Hazlewood for two fours in an over in which he was also put down by Gaikwad. In the next over, he drove Deepak to the long-on boundary but missed the next ball was given out lbw on review.
Anmolpreet Singh, on his IPL debut, struck two fours and a six in Hazlewood's second over but Deepak castled him with a knuckle ball soon after. In the last over of the powerplay, Shardul Thakur removed Suryakumar Yadav to make it 37 for 3, and by now Super Kings were directing proceedings.
Ishan Kishan didn't last long either. In the tenth over, he hit a fuller ball from Bravo straight to Raina at short extra cover.
Hazlewood lands the decisive blow
With 95 required from the last ten overs, it was up to Pollard to pull off a heist, just like he had done in the last meeting between the two sides. He hit a six off Jadeja to threaten the same but Dhoni brought back his seamers immediately after that. On the first ball of the 14th over, Hazlewood landed the decisive blow by trapping Pollard lbw with a skidder. Pollard was stuck in his crease and was hit on the back leg, right in front of the stumps. He opted for the review, more in hope than with conviction, but it was clear he was done for the night.
In the next over, Krunal was run out. Tiwary kept finding the odd boundary but Mumbai couldn't keep up with the asking rate. In the end, scoring 49 from the last three overs proved too uphill a task for Tiwary and the lower order.