The end result of the CLT20 final played between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals pointed towards a rather one-sided final – Mumbai getting home by 33 runs, a massive margin in T20 cricket, which meant that they had ended up achieving a double – they won the IPL as well earlier this year. However, the margin of defeat does not tell the entire story. Rajasthan were on par with Mumbai for a fair amount of time both while batting and bowling, but the latter pulled ahead towards the end of the both the innings, and sealed victory.
The most significant moment of the game arrived when Rajasthan were chasing the mammoth target of 203. The target was always going to be extremely tough to chase, but Sanju Samson came up with such an incredible innings that the target seemed within reach when he was at the crease. The special talent played some great strokes as he raced to 60 from 32 balls. Samson was being well supported by Ajinkya Rahane at the other end. But, unlike Samson, Rahane wasn’t able to score as quickly. Hence, when Samson fell while facing his 33rd shift in momentum.
Rahane carried on from one end, but he could not up match up to the run rate required. Also, Rajasthan had a few talented batsmen in their line-up, but they could not stand up to the mountain of runs. The quick dismissal of Shane Watson was a massive blow for Rajasthan. Had he stayed on, he would have ensured the run rate was kept in control. But, after his quick loss, the pressure got to Rajasthan completely. If they were any beak hopes, all of them fainted in one over as Rahane, Binny and Cooper departed. Without doubt, Rajasthan missed the injured Brad Hodge in the final. He could have been destructive towards the end.
Like with the bat, Mumbai had a great phase during their batting stint as well, which led them to a match winning total. At the halfway stage of Mumbai’s innings, it seemed as if they were headed for a competitive total at best. Dwayne Smith came up with another excellent knock at the top of the order, but his effort was neutralised by another brilliant spell of bowling by leggie Pravin Tambe, who picked up the crucial wickets of Smith and Ambati Rayudu, and also kept the runs under check.
At the time of Rayudu’s dismissal, Mumbai had progressed to 104 for 3 in the 14th over. It was a decent position to be in, but an assured match-winning total seemed out of reach. This is where Mumbai’s absolute batting strength came to the fore, again. Skipper Rohit Sharma and Glen Maxwell blasted the ball to all parts of the ground during their stay at the crease, and Dinesh Karthik also hit a couple of massive blows towards the end, which took Mumbai past 200. It is here that Rajasthan possibly lost the plot. They fought valiantly with the bat, but once Samson fell, their chase completely lost its way.
--By A Cricket Analyst