Images from the IPL 2023 Eliminator match between Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
Little-known Uttarakhand engineer Akash Madhwal bowled a dream spell as his five-wicket haul took five-time champions Mumbai Indians one step closer to summit clash after thrashing Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in IPL Eliminator match, in Chennai, on Wednesday.
Mumbai Indians scored 182/8 in 20 overs and it seemed 15 short given LSG's explosive batting firepower but Madhwal's incredible figures of 3.3-0-5-5 and some terrific ground fielding led by skipper Rohit Sharma saw their opponents crumble for a paltry 101 in 16.3 overs.
There were three run-outs in what turned out to be a forgettable evening for the Sanjiv Goenka owned franchise.
Mumbai Indians will take on Gujarat Titans in Friday's Qualifier 2 match, a virtual semi-final, with the winner taking on Chennai Super Kings in the final on Sunday.
If the first part of the evening belonged to a fiery Naveen ul Haq, whose 4/37 made everyone feel wary about MI's final score, Madhwal reassured the faith that his skipper showed in him.
The delivery that clinched the final was one bowled to dangerous Nicholas Pooran (0) from round the wicket. He delivered it from slightly wide off the crease and it shaped inward before nipping away with a touch extra bounce forcing the southpaw to edge it to Ishan Kishan behind the stumps.
That literally broke LSG's back and on either side of that wicket, Madhawal took four more to enhance his reputation having been a tennis ball cricketer till the age of 23.
Skipper Rohit, who has been pilloried for his fitness, threw himself around in the field and the relay throw to run Krishnappa Gowtham out was a fabulous effort.
Earlier, flamboyant Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq picked up four wickets as Lucknow Super Giants managed to limit Mumbai Indians to 182/8.
Naveen, who has been under spotlight since his angry exchanges with Virat Kohli during a league game against RCB, was constantly booed by the Chepauk crowd. But he tore through the MI batting line-up dismissing kipper Rohit Sharma (11 off 10 balls), batting mainstay Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 20 balls), the in-form Cameron Green (41 off 23 balls) and Tilak Verma (26 off 22 balls).
Naveen dented MI big time with the wickets of Suryakumar and Green in the space of three deliveries in the 11th over. Courtesy of those quick wickets, MI were forced to replace Suryakumar with Impact Player Nehal Wadhera, whose 23 off 12 balls was instumental in taking them past the 180-run mark.
Wadhera smacked a six and hit two fours in the final over bowled by Yash Thakur (3/34) to boost MI's score.
The impressive Moshin Khan (1/24) conceded only six runs in the 19th over before Wadhera stepped up the pace in the final over of the innings, bowled by Thakur.
Skipper Rohit (11), who began slowly, fell trying to up the pace, jumping out to hit Naveen only to hit it straight to Ayush Badoni in the way in the fourth over.
Thakur struck in the next over, getting Kishan caught behind by wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran.
Suryakumar and Green gave some momentum to the innings with a 66-run third wicket partnership from 38 balls to take MI past the 100-run mark.
Green, who hammered a ton in the final league match against SRH, slammed six boundaries and a six, while Suryakumar hit two maximums and an equal number of fours in his 20-ball knock.