UPDATE: Here's the actual match report
Below is a FICTIONAL match report for the 2015 Indian Premier League final which gets underway at 12:30am (AEST) on Monday. Follow the REAL coverage of the game here and return later to see how Sam Ferris's colourful prediction stacks up!
West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard has gone from villain to hero to lift the Mumbai Indians to the 2015 Indian Premier League title in a thrilling Super Over win against the Chennai Super Kings.
Set 24 to win after Mike Hussey’s whirlwind effort in CSK's Super Over, Pollard launched four consecutive sixes off compatriot Dwayne Bravo to clear the delirious Mumbai dugout and send the sold out Eden Gardens wild with ecstasy.
Pollard earlier had a chance to win the game in regulation. Needing seven to win from the final ball, CSK’s Suresh Raina (93no) clobbered Lasith Malinga flat and hard to Pollard at long on, only for the allrounder to spill what would have been the match-winning catch over the boundary for six and send the match to a sudden death Super Over.
The win caps off a remarkable season for Mumbai and first-year coach Ricky Ponting. Starting the tournament with four losses in six games, Mumbai were rooted to the bottom of the IPL table before a Herculean run to the finals saw them finish second to CSK after the regular season.
Mumbai saved their best batting performance of the tournament for the season climax, registering 6-231 from 20 overs after winning the toss and opting to bat on a highway in Kolkata.
Parthiv Patel fell in the first over, caught behind without scoring off the left-arm pace of Ashish Nehra to team Indians skipper Rohit Sharma and West Indies dasher Lendl Simmons together to form the highest partnership of the match.
Sharma (81) and Simmons (80) combined for 156 from 93 balls, dancing down to fast bowler and spinner alike, hitting with the wind and capitalising on the short straight boundaries to leave MS Dhoni scratching his head, unable to stop the barrage of runs his bowlers were haemorrhaging.
Sharma, exhausted from the energy-sapping humidity, fell hitting out in the 16th over, crossing paths with an elevated Pollard as he left the field with his charges at 2-158.
Simmons followed in the same fashion next ball to hand Ravi Ashwin his second wicket and put the off-spinner on a hat-trick.
Ashwin, the only bowler to concede less than a run a ball from his bowling, missed out on an IPL hat-trick in dramatic circumstances. A floated off-break was blasted back by Ambati Rayudu and dropped by the bowler one-handed, only for the ricochet to narrowly miss the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Pollard out of his crease hoping to squeeze a quick single.
Both batsmen took advantage of their reprieves, clocking 55 off the next 18 balls to see the first innings finish with a flurry of boundaries and wickets as the Indians posted a record score for an IPL final.
In reply, veterans Hussey and Dwayne Smith found the going tough during the early stages, failing to combat the changes of pace of Malinga and the aggression of Black Caps enforcer Mitchell McClenaghan.
At 0-19 after fives overs, the required run rate reached the dizzying heights of 14.20 an over, forcing the Chennai openers no option but to hit out or get out.
Hussey was the first to obey the new philosophy, creaming a brace of sixes before an under-edge cannoned into his stumps to end the 39-year-old’s stay on 17.
A brilliant piece of fielding by Rayadu at backward point found Smith short of his ground attempting a cheeky run, hitting the one stump on offer to terminate the West Indian’s innings on 16.
With 12 overs remaining, at 2- 58, Ponting was captured on the sideline wearing his trademark smirk, but in the space of 36 balls, Raina wiped the smile from his face.
Needing 174 from 72 balls, Raina unleashed a barrage of brutal hitting.
The left-hander clocked 11 sixes in a 36-ball boundary spree, reducing the margin to 80 runs required off the final six overs thanks to help from Faf du Plessis.
The momentum was firmly in the bright yellow corner, but after his astonishing display of range hitting, Raina was starved of the strike.
Du Plessis, conscious of the building required run rate and lack of strike his partner was seeing, tried to send Harbhajan Singh into neighbouring Pakistan, but fell metres short to introduce his captain to the manic proceedings.
Entering the final four overs, Chennai needed 66, but the parochial Super Kings fans need not worry, as Dhoni began his innings in fifth gear, almost single-handedly clawing his side back from the dead in a blaze of ramps, laps, flicks, scoops, swipes, and of course, helicopters, leaving Raina on strike with one ball left and six to tie.
Mentally and physically drained but as cool as ever, Dhoni opted for his opening combination to front the super over. A single to Smith put Hussey on strike, who then went 4,6,2,6,4, alternating the side of the wicket he sent the ball screaming to.
With 23 in the bank, Chennai looked to have pulled of the greatest of escapes, if not for Pollard, his brute strength and his four long bombs straight down the ground to swing the match one final time and seal the pulsating final for Ponting’s men.
REAL Scorecard: Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings