Mumbai: Dwayne Smith smacked 16 runs in the last over as Mumbai Indians held their nerve to register a miraculous two-wicket win against Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League match at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
It looked all over for Mumbai after Smith took a single off the first ball of the 20th over and when Ben Hilfenhaus bowled Lasith Malinga (0) off the second. But RP Singh (1 not out) did a sensible job by taking a single off the third, and giving the strike back to Smith, who first cleared the long-on fence with a six off a full-toss, and then smacked two back-to-back fours and clinched a win for the home side. The West Indian power-hitter remained unbeaten on 24 off just 9 deliveries.
Chasing a competitive total of 174, Mumbai got off to a bad start as James Franklin got out after scoring just 1 off 9 balls. But Sachin Tendulkar (74) and Rohit Sharma (60) paced the host’s chase extremely well, sharing a mammoth 126-run partnership for the second wicket. Both took a little time to get their eye in, but once set they displayed their array of strokes. While Tendulkar’s boundaries through the off-side were pleasing to the eyes, Sharma’s pick-up six off Hilfenhaus was extraordinary.
The two batsmen played a chance-less innings till Faf du Plessis clang onto a stunner at short cover to send back Tendulkar. With 38 needed off the last four overs, Dinesh Karthik (11) struck two crisp boundaries to get the asking rate down. But Chennai came right into the game after taking three back-to-back wickets. First, Dwayne Bravo bowled Karthik, and then Ravindra Jadeja disturbed the stumps of Ambati Rayudu (0) and Sharma in the same over. Robin Peterson and Harbhajan Singh too went without troubling the scorers as the hosts lost 7 for 43 in the last five overs. But Smith kept his cool till the end and clinched a memorable win for the home side.
Despite Lasith Malinga’s 3 for 25, Chennai still managed to post a challenging total. The Mumbai bowling spearhead picked up two wickets in his last over, giving away just four runs in the bargain. Earlier, Murali Vijay (41) continued the touch he found in the last game against Deccan Chargers, smashing three sixes and four boundaries and sharing 47 runs for the opening wicket with Faf du Plessis (9). But a bad mix-up cost du Plessis his wicket. Vijay too didn’t stay long and was cleaned bowled by RP Singh in the next over.
Like Vijay, Suresh Raina (36) too looked in fluent touch, using his wrists to guide the ball along the ground through the square leg for his first boundary. He smacked two more fours and an equal number of sixes, both in the deep midwicket region, before he was snapped up brilliantly by Singh off James Franklin at backward point. But the 62-run stand he shared with Dwayne Bravo gave Chennai the right platform to launch in death overs. The West Indian batsman was at his best. After starting his innings with a glorious punch off the front foot for four, he clubbed Munaf Patel mercilessly over long-on for his only six. Dhoni’s two fours and a six also gave the CSK innings the spark at the end.
Besides Malinga, Singh also bowled well for the home side, taking 3 for 28 in his four overs. However, Munaf, not the first time in this edition, went for plenty (0 for 46).