On Sunday night, Mumbai Indians had to defend 11 runs off the final over to win the Indian Premier League, the world's premier Twenty20 cricket tournament which spawned Australia's Big Bash and countless copycat leagues.
If you were a Mumbai fan, there was only one man you wanted bowling at that moment, and that man was Mitchell Johnson. The Aussie is 35 these days but he looks as menacing as ever -- and more importantly, he bowls with venom too.
So it was that Johnson approached the crease for the final six balls of the final against the Rising Pune Supergiant*.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) 21 de maio de 2017
Remember, Johnson had come out of semi-retirement to do amazing things for the Perth Scorchers in our own Big Bash League last summer. Could he do it again? Ha! Do seagulls like standing on one leg in the outfield?
Mumbai had only managed 8 for 129 batting first, which didn't look like much. It looked like even less as Pune approached the target with just two wickets down, and plenty of balls in hand. But the innings slowed and momentum shifted.
One over to go. Eleven runs required. Indian T20 specialist batsman Manoj Tiwary on strike. Aussie captain Steve Smith at the other end on 51 not out. Johnson with the cherry. Looking angry. Grrrr.
The first ball. Tiwary drags a ball from outside off stump through the vacant deep square leg for four. Johnson had wanted a fielder there. People should listen to Mitchell Johnson. Mitchell Johnson knows cricket.
The second ball and Tiwary is out caught. The batsmen cross while the ball is in the air.
Ball three and Smith is caught on the boundary. Johnson on fire now. Seven required from three balls.
What an over he bowled simply superb from mitchell Johnson💪💪👌👌👌👏👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/oypBiksjUx— Bhanu Chaitanya (@Chaitan91906854) 21 de maio de 2017
On the fourth ball the batsmen run a bye. Six from two to win. Five to tie. Aussie Dan Christian on strike.
Ball five. Johnson bowls a beautiful full ball. Christian squeezes it out and scampers through for two.
Ball six. Another impeccable Johnson delivery is just too perfectly placed to loft into the gap, and while Christian gathers another two runs, it's not enough. Mumbai win by a run!
As you can see in the video above, Johnson was rather pleased with all of this.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "To get the opportunity to bowl the last over and to finish off the game the way we did... you know we only made 130 but we came out as a bowling group and we knew that we could get those wickets.
"We bowled really well throughout this whole IPL and I just want to thank all the supporters, all my teammates... it's absolutely amazing, yeah, we're going to celebrate tonight."
No one ever doubted that for a minute.
*Note: Yes, the team name is singular. It's supergiant not supergiants. We have no idea what a supergiant is by the way, but we're pretty sure we'd hate to get into a fight with one. Oh, and the franchise no longer exists, as of this morning. It only had a two-year IPL contract.
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