New Delhi: Mumbai Indians booked their spot in the Champions League Twenty20 final against Rajasthan Royals as they beat Trinidad and Tobago by six wickets at the Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium on Saturday.
After restricting T&T to 153, Mumbai chased down the target in 19.1 overs, with Dwayne Smith scoring yet another half-century. Despite the efforts from Sunil Narine, who once again was the pick of the bowlers with his 3 for 17, T&T never recovered from the jolt of losing medium-pacer Rayad Emrit, who injured his shoulder while fielding when Mumbai started off their chase.
Sachin Tenulkar, playing his last T20 tournament as a professional, played some Sachin-like strokes - a slog sweep over long-on for a six and lofted shot over cover for a maximum. He made 35 but along the way, completed another milestone of 50,000 runs in all forms of recognised cricket.
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If the first half of the semi-final belonged to Trinidad opener Evin Lewis, who hit an attacking 46-ball 62 to help the Caribbean side post a competitive 153 after being sent in to bat, the limelight shifted to Smith and Tendulkar in the second half as they put Mumbai on track from the outset.
Mumbai started off on an attacking note with Smith and Tendulkar carting the T&T bowlers all around the park. It was Smith who set the ball rolling with two fours off pacer Ravi Rampaul before Tendulkar took centrestage with two successive sixes off left-arm spinner Yannick Ottley in the sixth over.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and coach John Wright had said before the match that Tendulkar loves to deliver a match-winning knock on big occasions and the batting legend, playing in his last Champions League, did just that.
The big-hitting Smith treated the T&T bowlers with utter disdain. It rained fours and sixes as Smith raced to his fifty in just 33 balls with a flat six off Lendl Simmons.
Just when it looked like Mumbai would post an easy victory over their Caribbean rivals, Simmons brought a tame end to Tendulkar's innings with a thick outside edge to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Narine again came to the rescue of his team and picked up two quick wickets in his second over to peg Mumbai back.
Amabti Rayudu became Narine's first victim when he tried to sharply cut the ball on the off side only to get a thick outside edge.
Smith was the next casualty as his attempt to sweep across the line only resulted in his off-stump being uprooted.
Smith's 38-ball knock was laced with two sixes and seven fours. From 90 for one, it became 96 for three, but Sharma (25) and Dinesh Karthik (33 not out) played responsible knocks to take their side closer to the target.
Karthik provided a fitting end to the game with a six over extra cover off Simmons.
Earlier, Lewis hit a quick-fire half-century while Ottley struck a fine unbeaten 41 as Trinidad and Tobago posted a competitive 153 for five. Lewis struck a 46-ball 62, innings that was studded with four sixes and six fours, while Ottley's 30-ball 41 was decorated with two sixes and an equal number of fours.
MI bowlers did well in the middle part of the innings to pull things back after Lewis' knock threatened to take the game away from the former champions.
The pace and spin duo of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pragyan Ojha bowled well in tandem and shared seven overs between them while picking up two wickets, which somewhat allowed MI to make a comeback.
(With inputs from PTI)