We will never know whether Rising Pune Supergiant would have been given a chance to defend their Indian Premier League title as Mumbai Indians snatched a win away from them on the last ball of a thrilling 2017 final on Sunday.

After winning the toss and putting on a rather sub-par 129/8 on the board, Mumbai were chasing the game right from the third over of their innings when they lost both their openers. But a superb bowling performance in the second half of Pune’s innings allowed them to put pressure on Pune, which eventually led to them sneaking through by a one-run margin.

This is Mumbai’s third IPL title in 10 years, having won it before in 2013 and 2015.

RPS’ outstanding fielding and catching continues

Rising Pune Supergiant were at a slight disadvantage before a ball was bowled, as Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to bat. Six out of nine IPL finals before this one had been won by teams batting first.

However, it didn’t take long for RPS to turn their disadvantage over as Jaydev Unadkat’s off-cutters sent both Mumbai openers back in the third over of the innings. This included an outstanding diving return catch to dismiss the dangerous Lendl Simmons.

Jaydev Unadkat takes a stunning return catch (Screengrab)

Mumbai then decided to repeatedly shoot themselves in their feet, as Ambati Rayudu foolishly took on the arm of Steve Smith at mid-off and perished. Then, RPS got the big fish, as Rohit Sharma pulled Adam Zampa to deep midwicket, where Shardul Thakur took a superbly judged catch inches from the rope. Kieron Pollard didn’t last long either, as he hit Zampa straight down the throat of Manoj Tiwary, who was accurately placed at a very straight long-off. Twitter was quick to remind everyone that Chennai Super Kings, under MS Dhoni, had used a similar tactic to dismiss Pollard in the 2010 IPL final.

Never take on Steve Smith's arm (Ron Gaunt - Sportzpics - IPL)

Krunal Pandya’s late blitz

Hardik Pandya and Karn Sharma too threw their wickets away, as Mumbai slumped to 79/7 in the 15th over. They were in serious danger of being bowled out for under 100 in an IPL final. However, this was when Krunal Pandya decided to step up, and he thankfully found some support in Mitchell Johnson. The duo ensured Mumbai hit 37 runs in the last three overs to take them to a below-par, but still defendable, 129/8. Pandya was dismissed on the last ball of the innings for a 38-ball 47.

“Whatever we planned, whatever we executed was fantastic,” Unadkat said after the innings ended. “We began well, the job is half done but we still have a job to do.” While Unadkat was wise enough to not celebrate too early, his RPS teammate, who has been watching the team on the telly all season because of an injury, was a bit more adventurous on Twitter. Mumbai Indians had lost three times to Rising Pune Supergiant already this season, and were halfway to a fourth straight defeat.

RPS leave it too late and pay for it

With a required rate of 6.5 runs an over to win, RPS did not need to do anything foolish. They lost Rahul Tripathi early, but Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith were in cruise control after that. It took another brilliant diving catch, from Kieron Pollard running in from long-off, to get Mumbai their next breakthrough at the end of the 12th over, as Rahane departed for 44 off 38 balls.

This brought MS Dhoni out to the middle at No 4, to loud cheers from the crowd. RPS needed just over seven runs an over at that stage and were comfortable, allowing Dhoni the time he likes to settle in. However, the former India captain took a little too long for RPS fans’ liking as the required rate rose to 9.40 in the next three overs.

RPS released some pressure in the 16th over of the innings, bowled by Krunal Pandya, as Dhoni hit the first boundary in 24 balls. Smith followed that up with a maximum, as RPS took 14 from the over. However, Dhoni nicked a length ball from Jasprit Bumrah straight to ’keeper Parthiv Patel in the following over to put the pressure back on Pune.

Pune needed 30 from the last three overs as Manoj Tiwary came to join his captain. Lasith Malinga was given the ball for the 18th and he bowled vintage Slinga, at the batsmen’s toes, for five out of six balls. The only deviant was dispatched to the boundary by Smith, as the equation reduced to 23 from the last 12 balls.

Bumrah looked to be bowling a brilliant 19th over, conceding just four off the first four balls, before Smith lifted him over the long-off boundary and took it to 11 needed from the final over. Tiwary began the 20th over by swiping Mitchell Johnson to the deep squareleg boundary, but holed out to Pollard the very next ball. Johnson then dismissed his compatriot off his next ball, as Smith hit him to a perfectly placed deep point, where Rayudu took a great catch.

RPS needed seven runs from the last three balls, with Washington Sundar on strike. The youngster sneaked a single to give Dan Christian the strike. But the Australian all-rounder could not get his team past the line.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians 129/8 in 20 overs (Krunal Pandya 47; Jaydev Unadkat 2/19, Adam Zampa 2/32, Dan Christan 2/34) beat Rising Pune Supergiant 128/6 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 44, Steve Smith 51; Mitchell Johnson 3/26, Jasprit Bumrah 2/26) by one run.