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Apr 13, 2012 at 03:43pm IST

Nerveless Rohit takes MI to victory

Deccan Chargers gave Mumbai Indians a stirring fight in defence of a total of 139 for 9, but Rohit Sharma struck a six off the final ball of the match to take the visitors to a nail-biting five-wicket win in Visakhapatnam. He scored steadily without taking too many risks and just when the chase entered its final phase, Rohit accelerated with alarming speed – smacking four sixes in his last ten balls faced - to consign Deccan to their second consecutive defeat of IPL 5.

Munaf Patel's four wickets in four overs and Lasith Malinga's three strikes were vital in restricting Deccan to 139 for 9, but after a red-hot Dale Steyn's excellent performance, it needed Rohit's awesome cool to seal a thrilling win, one that took Mumbai from fifth to third on the IPL 5 points table. Mumbai ended up victors, but will look back at a chalky performance from a batting line-up still missing Sachin Tendulkar, whose injury updates on Twitter earlier in the day indicate he may miss a couple more matches.

After another disappointing batting display, it was refreshing to see Deccan come out charged up and fighting to defend every run. Steyn produced a fiery two-over opening burst in which he plucked a smart reflex catch to send back former Deccan batsman T Suman and yorked Richard Levi with a peach, and some sharp fielding kept Mumbai to 49 for 2 in 10 overs. Amit Mishra's re-introduction in the 12th over drew immediate rewards, as Ambati Rayudu chased a poor delivery down leg and found Shikhir Dhawan stationed just inside the boundary at deep backward square leg.

Nerveless Rohit steers MI to last-ball win

Chasing 140, Mumbai Indians stole a nail-biter from Deccan Chargers, thanks to Rohit's unbeaten 73 off 50 balls.

Kumar Sangakkara's decision to give part-time legspinner Cameron White – boasting a career economy rate of 9.05 - a second over proved costly. Kieron Pollard clubbed the second ball for a six and Rohit picked up four past short third-man off the fourth, and with that 14-run over Mumbai had picked up steam. Pollard hit a second six off Mishra before he skied a steepler to Dhawan in Daniel Christian's third over, and Dinesh Karthik deftly steered a boundary in the same over to leave Mumbai's requirement at 37 runs off 18 balls. Rohit connected well to hit two sixes – one over long-off, the other behind deep midwicket - off Mishra in the 18th over, bringing down the asking rate to 23 from 12 balls.

The final two overs of the match were frenetic. Steyn, Deccan's hero of the night, finished with a good penultimate over in which there were no boundaries, two attempts at a run-out, and most importantly the wicket of Dinesh Karthik. Needing 18 from the final six balls, Mumbai got a four off the first ball as James Franklin drilled Christian down the ground; Franklin sprinted two off the second, then stole a bye off the third. With 11 required off three balls, Christian sent down a wide full toss that Rohit slashed over deep backward point for a six. Rohit put in an excellent dive coming back for a crazy second run off the fifth and with three to get off one ball, Rohit coolly clubbed a full toss over long-on for another six to seal an outstanding victory.

That they were left to chase 140 owed to the groundwork done by their bowlers. Munaf removed Parthiv Patel and Bharat Chipli in his opening spell, after which Dhawan briefly threatened with a brisk innings. He opened up in the same over by swinging Munaf over midwicket for a six, and flicked Lasith Malinga for a maximum to move into the twenties. Pragyan Ojha was then welcomed into the attack with a six first ball, as Dhawan slog-swept over deep square leg for a monstrous hit, and was given the same treatment off the last ball.

That, however, was as far as Dhawan could go. Three balls later, his attempt to attack Malinga resulted in a leading edge that Pollard held onto. Dhawan's exit left Deccan at 46 for 3 after seven overs, 41 of which had come off his bat in 24 balls. A 36-run stand followed between Sangakkara and Christian, who opened up by hitting Pollard for a six and a four during the 12th over.

Matters heated up moments later, after a change of ends produced a third wicket for Munaf, as Sangakkara dragged a full delivery back onto his stumps (82 for 4). There was some doubt from the square-leg umpire Johan Cloete as to whether the ball had rolled off the wicketkeeper Karthik's pads, and after nearly five minutes – during which a heated exchange developed between Munaf and the on-field officials – Sangakkara was correctly ruled out on the evidence of numerous replays.

The result of Harbhajan's miserly first three overs, which cost just eight runs, put pressure on Deccan to score off the other bowlers but they remained unable to find the boundary regularly during the final six overs. White (30 not out) struck a couple of sixes but the finale to Deccan's innings was poor. Munaf dismissed Christian with his final delivery, Malinga checked Deccan's attempts at a final push with two wickets in the 19th over and Pollard conceded eight runs from the 20th while picking up two wickets.

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