Mumbai Indians entered the final of the Champions League Twenty20 2013 (CLT20 2013) with a six-wicket win over Trinidad and Tobago at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday. Mumbai’s chase was set-up by a sparkling 59 off 38 balls from Dwayne Smith.
With a 154-run target to book a spot in the final spot in the Champions League for the second time, Mumbai got off to the best possible start. Smith and Sachin Tendulkar put on a solid 91-run opening stand.
Smith was in his usual self with controlled aggression but Sachin Tendulkar looked circumspect at the start finding it tough to connect the ball. Soon the maestro got back in nick. In the fifth over the match he hit Yannick Ottley for consecutive sixes. First he backed and made room for himself to loft it over long-on and in the next ball he timed one beautifully to pick six more over extra-cover. But the big moment came in the eighth over when he picked a single off Ottley to complete 50,000 runs in all three forms of recognised cricket.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin had a cause of concern right at the start of the chase after Rayad Emrit dislocated his shoulder after he dived to stop a straight drive from Tendulkar.
Smith continued his onslaught and completed his half-century in just 33 deliveries. Mumbai were cruising along to victory and Trinidad had to pull out some magic to turn things in their course. It reminded of their partnership in IPL 2012, when they had a demoralising effect on Rajasthan Royals when they put on 163. However, Trinidad actually managed to create a potential match-winning breakthrough. Tendulkar went for an expansive shot on the off-side but the ball took a faint edge to the keeper off Lendl Simmons’s bowling. Mumbai would not have worried after that solid 91-run stand in 68 balls.
However, Ambati Rayudu, promoted up the order tried to nudge Sunil Narine past the wicketkeeper only to nick it to Ramdin. The big blow though came later in the over when Smith went for a slog sweep only to see his off-stump disturbed. Smith scored 59 from 38 balls. From 91 for no loss, the former CLT20 champions slipped to 96 for three.
Mumbai suddenly looked vulnerable and Narine’s remaining two overs looked like fetching a few more wickets. Skipper Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik then inserted some sense into the batting trying to see off the spinners trying to pick singles from Narine’s over. Even a single from the free-hit offered by Narine looked like a blessing.
With Sharma on the crease, the runs were sure to come at some stage and they cleverly seized the opportunity hitting runs off the other bowlers. Sharma hit a six and a four from Navin Stewart’s over to bring down the required rate.
Soon the pressure off and despite an over of Narine remaining, the IPL champions appeared set to enter the finals. But Narine, as unpredictable as he can be, went through the defence of Sharma.
Throughout the match, Trinidad looked like winning only when Narine had the ball in his hands but the rest of the bowlers failed to plug the leak. Karthik then stroked off a six and a boundary in the 19th over against Ravi Rampaul to virtually seal the fate keeping just 3 to get from the last over.
Karthik completed the victory with a six over long-off to set-off the celebrations.
Earlier in the evening, put into bat, Trinidad managed 153 for five thanks to a half-century by Evin Lewis — 62 from 46 balls. Yannick Ottley too played a handy knock of 41 from 30 balls. At one point, Trinidad looked good to set a total much more than they eventually set but Kieron Pollard removed Lewis to break the momentum. Nathan Coulter-Nile though picked just one wicket, but was very accurate conceding just 20 in his four overs.
After the match, Tendulkar credited the all-round performance of the team. The final will be played on Sunday evening at the Kotla. It will be a fitting finale with two legends — Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid — set to face for one last time.
Trinidad and Tobago 153 for 5 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 62, Yannick Ottley 41; Nathan Coulter-Nile 1 for 20, Pragyan Ojha 1 for 16) lost to Mumbai Indians 157 for 4 in 19.1 overs (Dwayne Smith 59, Sachin Tendulkar 35; Sunil Narine 3 for 17) by 6 wickets.
(Abhijit Banareis 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 onTwitterandblog)