The story of the IPL final over

Looking at Mohit Sharma, and how CSK finally got the better of him.

This is a story about the last over of the IPL final. But it is also about yorkers.

The over started with 13 needed off 6. Chennai had Shivam Dube at the crease and Ravi Jadeja. There were plenty of runs out there. In a five-over span just a couple of over earlier, Chennai had seeingly broken the game with consecutive six, six, six, four and six.

So thirteen off the over, considering set batters, and the scoring rate of the innings at that point was eleven, meant that CSK were maybe slightly better than a par chance to win. It's two hits or one hit and a bunch of other madness to win it.

Bowling it is Mohit Sharma, who is now bowling his third consecutive over at the death. Tricky for anyone, but he's been a good bowler at the end all year. Mohammad Shami got the tricky over before him and only let eight runs through. So it's not all doom for Mohit.

13 off 6.

The first ball is a yorker. Fast and straight around off stump, Dube hits it back to the bowler and no run. About as good a victory as you can hope for.

13 off 5.

The second one is another yorker, this one gets a single. But it also just slightly tails away. Not a lot, but enough to get mishits.

12 off 4.

The third one was supposed to be a yorker, but he overpitches his leg stump delivery. Jadeja who is now on strike tries to get under a low full toss. He does but gets no timing. This wasn't a terrible ball, but it certainly could have been hit for a boundary.

11 off 3.

At this point, Mohit knew that he had to make a decision because he was in front in the over. But two bad balls still lose it. And the batters both knew even though they were behind, Mohit had played the same card three times. In fact, depending on how much they had been watching, he'd tried pace on for a while.

One thing worth remembering is both batters are lefties, but they have different stances and styles so that they could have been in very different positions from ball to ball. And modern batters move around the crease a lot. The chance of anyone hitting six straight yorkers is really slim. The best bowlers nail it 50% of the time. With scooping, the bottom of the bats getting better and range hitting, yorkers tend to look great or get picked up 15 rows back.

Mohit and Hardik start to chat here. The captain is pretty quiet, and the bowler is really speaking a lot. I think the conversation was about whether he goes away from the yorker. And the reason I think that, is because Mohit doesn't always bowl this many in a row.

Mohit Sharma has three core deliveries at the death. Yorker, back of the hand slower ball and bouncer. These are three very different challenges, one at your toes, the other on a length and the last one comes for your teeth. Being good at these three is a huge plus for a death bowler.

But forget the yorker, one reason he is so good at the death is the combination of bouncer and slower delivery. It is very hard to go between the two if you are a batter. Out of the hand, one goes up, and one comes down. The back of a hand ruins your shape. The bouncer can take you off guard.

Both are good balls but also high-yield deliveries that can go for boundaries. The back of the hand is a wicket-taker, but if you keep your shape when batting you can slap it. The bouncer gets runs through the top edges at the end when the field is not set for it. Also, wides are an issue.

This year much has been made of Mohit's back-of-the-hand slower ball (which has saved and rebuilt his career), so I assume the batters would have expected next.

Instead, Mohit stays with the yorker, this time trying the wide version. He bowls another full toss, this is the most hittable so far. But he gets away with it as it sliced towards long off.

Mohit and Hardik talk again, and also a bottle of water is taken out, clearly with a message. In fact, as the 12th runs off the field Mohit is yelling something at him. While Hardik goes over and refocuses him by grabbing him on the shoulders.

It's worth talking about the bowler here. This is Mohit Sharma's second great year in the IPL. His last one was in 2013, where he managed 20 wickets at 16 while only going at 6.4 runs an over. He was pretty good at taking wickets the next year, But ever since he's either been ok, or worse. By 2018 his career was seemingly over. Just two games between then and now, A old pro net bowler seemed to be his job.

To go from there to the most improved player in this year's IPL (or near enough) and having to bowl it out to win was a huge change.

At this point, Mohit has bowled two straight full tosses after two straight yorkers. But he has got away with them. So the perfectly reasonable question is whether he tries another one, or one of his two variations.

His last back-of-the-hand slower ball was now seven balls back by my count. Ambati Rayadu saw it, waited, and slapped it for six. Since then everything has been on pace. Full, or hard lengths.

By my count, in the last seven on-pace deliveries he has conceded only four runs and taken two wickets. The question is, whether he wants to play a card trick, or just trust the thing that is working.

10 off 2.

Mohit chooses a yorker. And he misses his length for the third straight ball, this one is a straight half-volley. Jadeja does get under it - like he did the full toss earlier - but there is timing. So it heads back over long on for six.

It was the first yorker that got hit, but remember, not the first one he got wrong. The last two have been errors, maybe even the last three. But they didn't go for runs, so he stayed with them.

Now what does he do? He and Hardik talk again. There really isn't a good answer hear. If he bowls another yorker they know it is coming. If he bowls a back-of-the-hand delivery it may sit up and give them time to hit. And a short ball could easily take a glove or helmet and still be four.

If he had bowled any variation coming up, he'd be in a more solid place. But he backed what was working.

4 off 1.

And that is what he does again. Mohit chooses the straight yorker, it's a full toss and down leg. A double mistake. And with six needed, it would have been hard to get under. But they only need four. Six yorkers - two good, one neutral, and three bad.

Mohit actually bowled a good over. In that chase, with wickets in hand, and two hitters at the crease, GT got in front. He backed himself. And even when he made mistakes, they were small. No waist-high full tosses, wides, or length balls. The last ball was the first terrible bit of execution, but neither mistake was massive.

But it was enough to hit, and so they lost them the game. Bowling at the death is hard.