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On May 6, 2012, Dwayne Smith made a memorable debut for Mumbai Indians in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The West Indian clobbered a six and two fours in the last three balls to help Mumbai chase down 173 set by Chennai Super Kings. Abhijit Banare recounts the match.
One of the disappointing things about IPL is that there are too many close finishes. There was an era where you would discuss those rare close finishes in One-Day internationals (ODI), and if it was a Test match, it surely went down into the history books. But the Twenty20 (T20) era has changed it. Three hours of cricket and even before you could recollect the highlights, they will be playing some other team. And if you still happen to remember that one match then it has to be special.
Dwayne Smith’s quick dash to Mumbai: One year before he actually created mayhem, Mitchell Johnson was scheduled to play in the 2012 edition. Johnson was bought by Mumbai for $300,000. But a toe injury ruled him out of the tournament and Mumbai were allowed to name a replacement. Smith was included in the side, but he was busy playing in the Caribbean. His flight arrangements were made in a flash and on May 3, he landed in Mumbai. A charter flight was arranged for him to fly to Pune, where his team was supposed to play against Pune Warriors India. But Smith was kept out thanks to a tiring journey. But he was included in the side in place of Thisara Perera for the match against Chennai Super Kings.
Home support: Mumbai is one team Chennai have had a negative win-loss record against. Though Mumbai themselves haven’t had half of their opposition’s consistency in IPL history, they have somehow managed to pip Chennai. Mumbai won the toss and skipper Harbhajan Singh elected to field. Chennai were off to a solid start scoring above eight an over. Faf du Plessis was the first to depart, while Murali Vijay went onto score a 29-ball 41. It was the middle-order consisting of Suresh Raina (36), Dwayne Bravo (40) and MS Dhoni(25) who scored briskly, and that helped them to a solid total of 173.
The chase: Openers James Franklin and Sachin Tendulkar walked out to a huge cheer from the Wankhede crowd. But the atmosphere had no influence on the start of the innings, as they crawled to eight in the second over with the first one from Ben Hilfenhaus being a maiden. Franklin was dismissed by the Aussie in his next over. But that kick-started a delightful partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and the talented Rohit Sharma. With an enviable timing attached to his shots, Rohit went after the Chennai bowlers, while the Master Blaster looked in sublime touch. The two Mumbaikars had added 126 within quick time in just 75 balls. Tendulkar was dismissed by a stunning catch from du Plessis. Tendulkar went for an inside-out shot over the cover fielder and he plucked that catch out of nowhere. After consecutive boundaries in the next over, Dinseh Karthik too was on his way back.
The next over had more disappointment in store for Mumbai, who were set to cruise towards the target. Ambati Rayudu was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja and the big wicket of Rohit too came during the last ball of the over. It was a typical Jadeja delivery that was fired into the batsman and him being beaten by the pace. Rohit tried to cut the ball, but his leg-stump went for a walk in the park. Mumbai still needed 25 from 12 with Smith batting with new man, Robin Peterson. However, the 19th over saw two more wickets as Peterson and Harbhajan Singh departed. Peterson was trying to take on du Plessis’s throw, while Harbhajan smashed a full-toss flat towards substitute fielder, Wriddhiman Saha. 16 runs needed to win in the last over, Hilfenhaus to bowl it.
How the 20th over unfolded:
Ball 1: It’s full and wide, Smith muscles it straight to long-off, but gets only a single. 15 more needed off five balls. But Lasith Malinga is on strike.
Ball 2: OUT! Malinga gets a taste of his own medicine. It’s full and right at the base of the stumps. Malinga goes for a wild swing and the stumps are shattered. One ball gone and Smith still at the non-striker’s end. 15 needed in four balls.
Ball 3: Single, Smith welcomes RP Singh to the crease, pleads for him to nudge around and sprint. Luck shines for him, as he manages to get bat on to ball and scampers through for a single. 14 needed in three balls.
Ball 4: Six! This was always going to be fantasy cricket. Hitting three balls for boundaries to win, but Smith does it. Hilfenhaus steams in and misses his length, Smith swings hard enough for the ball to land well beyond the long-on boundary. Eight needed in two balls.
Ball 5: Four! Hilfenhaus is ready to bowl and this one is in the slot. Smith stands still and heaves it straight over the bowler’s head for four. Juicy full-toss. Four needed in one ball.
Ball 6: Four! Chennai spend no time in pondering over the field placement. The deep fielders in front of the wicket are still orthodox. Hilfenhaus delivers a length ball and Smith clobbers it for four and that was the end of the game with Mumbai celebrating the win.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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