Mumbai edge Durban thriller

2010-09-20 00:00

TO the dilly delight of their diehard Durban fans, the Mumbai Indians squeaked home by two runs against a gallant Royal Challengers Bangalore at Kingsmead last night.

Needing 13 off Zaheer Khan’s last over, Bangalore chipped away to leave three runs needed off the final ball.

Virat Kohli, who plundered 47 off his first 23 balls, then launched Khan’s final fling high into the night sky. To the relief of his team, and most of the 17 000 crowd, keeper Ambati Rayudu held his nerve — and the leather — to seal a dramatic two-run win for the Mumbai franchise.

The outcome sparked a mini-debate in the press-box regarding the future of Sachin Tendulkar’s side in the competition, but the masses didn’t care one jot about net run-rates.

“Our statistician just told me that we have a small chance of going through, so we will see what happens,” a tired-looking Tendulkar said after the drama.

Mumbai needed a massive win to have any chance of a spot in the semi-finals, but started like a side already confined to the departures hall at O.R. Tambo.

Tendulkar won the toss and chose to take first strike, but didn’t get off to the necessary flyer. Anil Kumble used his quicks cleverly, holding back Dale Steyn for the latter stages. The Kumar duo — not related — of Vinay and Praveen, started.

The “Kumar couple” bowled intelligently and they were backed up by some startling stops in the field.

Mumbai laboured to 65 for three after 10 overs, and were only then confronted by cricket’s premier fast bowler.

“It was a definite plan to hold Dale back, and it worked very well tonight,” Kumble explained.

Steyn’s first two overs had Test match-like precision, as he garnered two wickets for five runs to leave the Indians’ ambitions in tatters.

The double strike in the 13th over was vintage Steyn as he hustled through a desperate Shikhar Dhawan before reducing the powerful Kieron Pollard to another bunny.

Pollard, who had re-decorated Kingsmead with his sixes all week, faced all of four balls and hardly laid a bat on them.

Steyn gave the mighty Trinidadian a short leg for company — most unTwenty20-like — and then greeted him with two sharp bouncers. A nervy play and miss followed, before Pollard’s misery was completed with a leading edge to cover. Steyn erupted.

From that point, however, Mumbai seriously upped the ante.

Dwayne Bravo (29 off 17) was particularly brutal on Kumble (0 for 45) as he and Saurabh Tiwary (38) made a late, late charge.

Sixty-nine runs came off the final five overs, as Tiwary and Bravo took the fight to Bangalore to end on a much healthier 165 for seven.

Bangalore’s chase was measured, with Rahul Dravid warming the hearts of purists with some classic strokes. Jacques Kallis didn’t last too long, and neither did Robin Uthappa.

Mumbai, needing to win by 30 runs, certainly made a fist of it.

Enter Kohli, and the tables turned. Dravid kept ticking over, but Kohli was significantly less subtle.

His flick off the legs was working overtimeas a succession of Mumbai bowlers decided that low full-tosses were the way to go.

Bangalore needed 28 off the last two overs, and after Kohli’s clean hitting took 15 off Lasith Malinga’s 19th over, the stage was set for a frantic finish.

Two scrambled singles hardly helped the nerves, but another pair of Kohli flicks to the fine leg boundary seemed to have sealed it.

Khan, bowling a dangerous length, somehow held his nerve, and Kohli’s wild slash at the last ball gave Mumbai the joy that they have been desperately short of in this tournament.

“We got better as the tournament progressed, but a few lapses cost us very dearly in the first two games,” Tendulkar reflected.

“In this format there is simply no time to come back, but I am proud of how the boys have gelled together, and tonight was a much better performance.”

For Bangalore, tomorrow represents a final fling at a play-off slot as they face the Highveld Lions in a virtual quarter-final.

Mumbai, despite their win last night, will be waiting anxiously with passports in one hand — and the checkout card in the other.

Mumbai Indians innings

S Dhawan c Dravid b Steyn41

SR Tendulkar c Uthappa b Kumar11

AT Rayudu c Dravid b Vinay Kumar3

JP Duminy c Steyn b Kallis10

SS Tiwary not out38

KA Pollard c Taylor b Steyn0

DJ Bravo c Kohli b Steyn29

Harbhajan Singh run out (Kumble/Kallis)14

Z Khan not out0

Extras: (b 9, lb 4, w 5, nb 1)19

TOTAL: (7 wickets; 20 overs; 95 mins)165

Fow: 1-19 (Tendulkar, 2.5 ov), 2-22 (Rayudu, 3.2 ov), 3-51 (Duminy, 8.2 ov), 4-83 (Dhawan, 12.3 ov), 5-84 (Pollard, 12.6 ov), 6-148 (Bravo, 18.4 ov), 7-163 (Harbhajan Singh, 19.5 ov)

Bowling: P Kumar 4 1 26 1; R Vinay Kumar 4 0 16 1; A Kumble 4 0 45 0 (1nb, 1w); JH Kallis 4 0 39 1 (1w); DW Steyn 4 0 26 3 (1w)

Royal Challengers Bangalore

JH Kallis lbw b Ahmed15

R Dravid not out71

RV Uthappa c Dhawan b Bravo6

LRPL Taylor c Rayudu b Bravo9

CL White b Harbhajan Singh7

V Kohli c Rayudu b Khan47

Extras: (b 2, lb 2, w 4)8

TOTAL: (5 wickets; 20 overs; 91 mins)163

Fow:1-41 (Kallis, 5.2 ov), 2-50 (Uthappa, 6.5 ov), 3-72 (Taylor, 10.1 ov), 4-100 (White, 13.5 ov), 5-163 (Kohli, 19.6 ov)

Bowling: Z Khan 4 0 36 1 (2w); SL Malinga 4 0 35 0 (1w); DJ Bravo 4 0 23 2 (1w); AN Ahmed 4 0 33 1; Harbhajan Singh 4 0 32 1

Toss: Mumbai Indians, who chose to bat

Player of the match: DJ Bravo (Mumbai Indians)

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and RJ Tucker (Australia)

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