There were several factors that contributed to Mumbai Indians' first ever Champions League Twenty20 triumph. MiD DAY elaborates on the key reasons for their win on Sunday
Head turner: Lasith Malinga did the job on most of the occasions.
Mumbai, who started as underdogs with several players injured, kicked off the tournament with a morale-boosting win against Chennai, ending the defending champions' unbeaten streak at home. While Lasith Malinga was awarded the man of the match, it wasn't for his toe-crushing yorkers. Chasing 159 on a typical Chepauk surface, it was Malinga's 18-ball knock of 37 that took Mumbai from 106-7 to the finishing line. The Sri Lankan pacer finished with 10 wickets, and the man of the series award.
Harbhajan the leader
The off-spinner, who finished the tournament with seven wickets, bowled the over that turned the final on its head, removing the dangerous Chris Gayle at a crucial juncture. Earlier, team mentor Shaun Pollock lauded Harbhajan's leadership after their victory against Somerset in the semi-final. "He's been very calm, relaxed and focused on the job. He's taken advice from players and been keen to what the coaching staff have to offer. Lot of credit has to go to Harbhajan for the way he's performed as captain," Pollock said.
The likes of Sarul Kanwar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Suryakumar Yadav came to the party for the depleted Mumbai side at different junctures in the tournament. While Kanwar displayed top-notch hitting ability with a brisk 45 against Cape Cobras, Chahal bowled a fine spell in the final, and Yadav performed in the limited opportunities that he received after returning from injury.
Top fielding show
Mumbai were arguably the best fielding unit of the four Indian sides that participated in the tournament. The likes of Kieron Pollard, Aiden Blizzard and Rajagopal Sathish were livewires, dropped in and out of the inner circle, took some fine catches too. Even seamers such as Abu Nachim and Lasith Malinga were not far behind. Fielding coach Jonty Rhodes even said that Sathish was primarily in the team as a fielder.
Franklin's all-round show
The New Zealand all-rounder has come into his own as a middle-order batsman in the last few years. Finishing off as the second highest run-getter for Mumbai with 107 runs from five games, he played a crucial knock against New South Wales, before top scoring with 41 in the final against Bangalore. As a bowler, he managed only three wickets, but at an economy rate of less than five-and-a-half.
Weather and the tie
The washout against Cape Cobras eventually helped Mumbai qualify for the semis despite finishing with five points and a negative net run-rate (-0.280) when compared with Trinidad and Tobago who had four points and a positive net-run rate. Also, Trinidad, who beat top teams such as Chennai and Cobras, would have qualified instead (to the semis) if not for their tied game against New South Wales.
For the youngsters, performing under the watchful eyes of injured skipper Sachin Tendulkar provided enough motivation, as suggested by Surya Kumar Yadav. "I spoke with him (Tendulkar) in the team meeting and also had a one-on-one session with him. He took away all the pressure and nervousness that I had in me. He just told me to treat this as another domestic game. And, as I get runs and spend more time in the middle, I'll be fine," Yadav said after his crucial 23-run knock in the semi-final against Somerset.
Luck at toss
Teams batting first have held a distinct edge at Chepauk in all T20s in the last few years. Mumbai, who played both the semi-final against Somerset and final against Bangalore here, won the toss on both occasions, and successfully defended totals. One wonders if the result would have been the same if Harbhajan Singh called wrong at the coin toss.
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