Mumbai: A Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings match-up is usually a big game irrespective of context, but coming as it did with the teams placed three and four in a traffic jam-like points table, it assumed even more significance.
The match lived up to its billing, with more twists and turns than a mountain road, and ended with Dwayne Smith smashing 14 runs off the final three balls to snatch victory for Mumbai.
It didn't look like Mumbai would win, when with 27 needed off the final three overs, MS Dhoni threw the ball to Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja took the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma, while conceding only two runs, to completely transform the match. It was not the first remarkable swing in the match and, sadly for Chennai, not the last. That came when Ben Hilfenhaus - who had picked up two wickets while conceding less than a run a ball - had three balls left to bowl with 14 runs to defend. Those disappeared for a six and two fours, asSmith to stole a remarkable win. (Also see: Match in pics)
It was set up by Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit, who shared a 126-run stand for the second wicket. Tendulkar took off with three fours in an Albie Morkel over, and never let up. A half-century came in just 32 balls, and Mumbai were comfortably placed at 131 for 1 after 15 overs. Chennai needed a moment of magic, and Faf du Plessis provided just that, plucking the ball out of the air to send Tendulkar back for 74 off 44. It was still Mumbai's game to lose, and they threatened to do just that before being rescued by Smith.
Earlier, Murali Vijay led Chennai's charge. Horribly out of form coming into the match - 45 runs off 59 balls from six innings - he ended up smashing 41 off 29. The man who turned in the most impressive spell for Mumbai was RP Singh. Vijay had smashed Munaf Patel for 24 runs to take Chennai to 46 for no loss after 5 overs, but Singh provided the vital breakthrough by castling him an over later. When Chennai had recovered through Suresh Raina to be 114 for 2 after 14 overs, he pulled off a brilliant catch at point to send Raina back for 36 off 21. He then came back for his final over to get the wickets of both Dhoni and Morkel, ending with 3 for 28.
Chennai's 173 was a good total, but not formidable on a batting pitch, and so it proved in the end.