| MoM Dwayne Smith |
New Delhi: Openers Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar put on a solid 90-run stand at the Kotla on Saturday to help Mumbai Indians reach the final of the Champions League T20.
The final on Sunday is going to be a mouth-watering clash between Mumbai Indians and Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals, who arrived in the capital late in the evening.
At the packed Kotla, the IPL-VI champions batted with controlled aggression to beat the challenge of Trinidad and Tobago and win by six wickets. Chasing the Trinidad and Tobago score of 153 for 5, Rohit Sharma’s team reached the target in 19.1 overs.
Dinesh Karthik remained not out on 33 along with Kieron Pollard (2).
If Smith (59 off 38 balls) and Tendulkar (35 off 31 balls) laid the foundation of Mumbai Indians’ victory, the final push came from Rohit Sharma.
Having come at a time when Sunil Narine was threatening to take the match away from Mumbai India with two quick strikes, Sharma scored 25 off 22 balls to take his team to the doorsteps of victory.
He, too, fell in the off-spinner’s fourth and last over, but by that time Mumbai looked set for the final.
Trinidad and Tobago must have missed the services of Rayad Emrit. The medium pacer injured a finger while fielding in the very first over of the Mumbai Indians innings and could not bowl.
The innings of Tendulkar was studded with two fours and two sixes. The Master showed authority and class and the spectators were on their feet every time he sent the ball across the rope.
The Kotla crowd, who thronged to the ground for the second time in four days to watch Tendulkar in action, finally got their due as Tendulkar played some classic strokes.
His best came in the sixth over against Yannick Ottley. He cleared the third delivery from the left-arm spinner over extra cover and the next one for a six over long off. The crowd went ecstatic.
Later they gave Tendulkar a standing ovation when he completed 50,000 runs in all formats of the game in the eighth over from the same bowler. The batsman took a single to reach the landmark. He, at that time, was batting on 26.
Just when Tendulkar looked set for a big score, he was out rather tamely off a short and wide delivery from Lendl Simmons. He offered a thick outside edge and was caught by wicketkeeper and captain Denesh Ramdin.
Given the fashion in which Trinidad and Tobago started their innings after being asked to bat by Rohit Sharma, one expected them to cross the 170-run mark easily. With Evin Lewis in full flow, the Caribbean side raced to 73 in the first 10 overs losing only Lendl Smith’s wicket.
The Mumbai bowlers, however, in the middle overs, were able to put the brakes on their rivals’ scoring spree.
There was a huge slump in the run rate once Lewis was dismissed in the 14th over. Things would have worse had not Ottley launched an onslaught in the late overs with some big hitting.