Images from Tuesday’s IPL Qualifier 1 between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, in Chennai.
The enormously talented Suryakumar Yadav played one of his finest knocks, on a challenging track, as Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the first Qualifier to make it to the final of the Indian Premier League Season 12, in Chennai, on Tuesday.
On a sluggish pitch, which offered considerable turn and odd bounce, Suryakumar batted in copybook fashion, scoring an unbeaten 71 off 54 balls as Mumbai Indians overhauled the 132-run target in 18.3 overs and qualified for the final for the fifth time.
All is not over for Chennai yet. They have another chance to make it to what could be their eighth summit clash as they play the second Qualifier, against the winner of the 'Eliminator' between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The target of 132 wasn't a big one but once the below-par Chepauk pitch was factored in, the chasing team had its own set of challenges.
With senior players Rohit Sharma (4) and Quinton de Kock (8) returning to the pavilion quickly, Surya and Ishan Kishan (28, 31 balls) traded their natural flair for caution and added 80 runs to the platform.
While Surya hit 10 fours, the normally aggressive Kishan had three fours and a six in his innings.
While Imran Tahir (2/33 in 4 overs) dismissed Kishan and Krunal Pandya (0) off successive deliveries in the 14th over, it was more a of minor scare as Surya anchored the chase with ease in Hardik Pandya's company.
The best part about Surya's batting was how late he played both Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja (0/18 in 4 overs). Whenever they got the ball to turn away from the right-hander, he played it past the short third-man fielder.
The best part was not taking undue risks against Jadeja, who looked menacing on this track.
When Tahir flighted, he would whip him through mid-wicket. Deepak Chahar, after getting Rohit's wicket, erred in line and proved costly.
Harbhajan Singh (1/25 in 4 overs) finished his quota primarily when at least one left-hander was at the crease.
In the end, the difference was the three Mumbai Indians spinners -- Rahul Chahar (2/14 in 4 overs), Krunal Pandya (1/21 in 4 overs) and Jayant Yadav (1/25 in 3 overs) -- who gave away only 60 runs in the 11 overs between them while taking four wickets.
CSK were 10 runs short of the par-score even on a challenging track where Surya made batting look easy.
Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to launch a brutal assault on a sluggish pitch but did enough in the company of Ambati Rayudu to propel Chennai Super Kings to 131 for 4.
Chennai’s total was built largely on a fifth-wicket stand of 66 off 48 balls between Dhoni (37 not out off 29 balls) and Rayudu (42 not off off 37 balls) when the other batsmen found the going tough.
Dhoni smashed Lasith Malinga for two huge sixes in the penultimate over to provide impetus to their innings, which was stymied by the Mumbai Indians bowlers, especially the spinners.
Mumbai’s leg-spinner Rahul Chahar continued his impressive season, with a superb spell of 2 for 14 in his quota of four overs. He kept the batsmen on a tight leash with turn and bounce.
Chennai had a bad start, losing three wickets in the Powerplay, as Mumbai’s skipper Rohit Sharma used five different bowlers in the first five overs.
The visiting team kept things under control in the Powerplay, restricting Chennai to 32 runs while bagging three wickets.
At the half-way stage, the Super Kings barely managed to reach 50, which was a sign of their struggles.
Faf du Plessis (6) got one from Rahul that bounced a bit more and his cut went straight to substitute fielder Anmolpreet Singh at backward point.
Suresh Raina's (5) attempt to slog Jayant Yadav resulted in a skier, which the bowler took with ease.
Shane Watson, who struggled for form, played a trademark pull off Jasprit Bumrah, but fell going for a big hit off Krunal Pandya, taken brilliantly by Jayant Yadav running backwards from his mid-on position.
Murali Vijay attempted to consolidate in Watson's company and succeeded to an extent, before being stumped by Quinton de Kock off Rahul Chahar for 26 (26 balls, 3x4).
Dhoni hit the first six of the match in the 14th over, lofting Jayant (1/25 in 3 overs) over long-on. Rayudu hit three fours and a six and concentrated on taking the singles and doubles with boundaries hard to come by.