Mumbai Indians dreams were crushed by MS Dhoni and his team on Wednesday night. Yet again, Mumbai came close but only to be thwarted by one man in Bangalore.
Till that night, Mumbai had not lost an IPL game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. And what a day to alter that record. In a knock-out game like this, Indian captain chose to come to the party.
Till then, Dhoni had failed to register a half century and when it mattered the most, he delivered.
Throughout the season, Mumbai struggled to find a settled opening pair. They tried out eight partners for Sachin Tendulkar and when the Master Blaster missed few games due to injury, they had two new players at the top of the tree.
South African record holder Richard Levi was signed by Mumbai this season and was expected to do big things with the bat. However, after a bright start in the IPL 5 opener against Chennai with a half century, he kept faltering and lost his place in the playing XI.
Things could have been better if Levi had settled nicely into the opener's slot with Tendulkar. Levi is capable of hitting the ball long way. Levi-Tendulkar combination could have been deadly. But that did not happen.
Tendulkar too did not produce magical stuff. Hampered by a finger injury, he had a quiet tournament by his own standards. He had only two fifties in 13 innings and ended up with 324 runs. Whether he will return for IPL 6 is not known.
An injury to Mitchell Johnson brought West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Smith to Mumbai midway into the competition. He did blossom with the bat with big hits. Last two games, he came as an opener.
Tendulkar relinquished captaincy before the start of IPL 5 and Harbhajan Singh took over the reins. But Harbhajan, the bowler, was ordinary. In 16 innings he took 6 wickets at an average of 64.00 and economy of 7.11.
As always, it was Lasith Malinga who took the bowling honours for the team. With 22 wickets in the bag, Malinga was expected to win matches on his own. He did his job well with a support cast of Kieron Pollard (16 wickets), Munaf Patel (15) and RP Singh (10). Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha got limited chances and did shine with nine wickets.
The talented Rohit Sharma topped the team's batting charts with 433 in 16 innings. He also hit a brilliant century (109 not out) against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. His ton was one of the highlights of IPL 5.
The biggest gainer from Mumbai this time could be Ambati Rayudu. He has certainly impressed Indian selectors with some eye-catching performances.
With 333 runs in 15 innings, he captain said he could be playing for India soon. There is no doubt about Rayudu's talent, hope he makes the grade soon.
Munaf did not score enough points in fair play as he kept showing his anger against umpires. In one of the matches against Deccan Chargers, he along with his captain, forced umpires to refer a decision to third umpire and finally resulted in Munaf losing a part of his match fee. Harbhajan was reprimanded. Munaf was again docked match fee for making obscene gestures towards the opposition players in their Kings XI Punjab match.
Mumbai won some close games this season and finished third in the points table. Last year too they were third. Having won Champions League 2011, Mumbai will have to go through the qualifiers to make this year's tournament in October.
Mumbai's season could be best described as missed opportunities and faltering on the big day against Chennai. They will hope for better luck next time.
Mumbai Indians' Top Five Batsmen and Bowlers
Rohit Sharma 433 (16 innings)
Ambati Rayudu 333 (15)
Sachin Tendulkar 324 (13)
Dinesh Karthik 238 (14)
Kieron Pollard 220 (11)
Jamesh Franklin 220 (11)
Lasith Malinga 22 wickets (14 innings)
Kieron Pollard 16 (14)
Munaf Patel 15 (12)
RP Singh 10 (11)
Pragyan Ojha 9 (9)