By BV Swagath
Mumbai Indians eased to a 7-wicket win in their crucial match against Lions to stay alive in CLT20 2013. The match was won by the completion of the first half with the Mumbai Indians keeping the Lions down to a modest total of 140 for 5. Mumbai Indians need to win their last game as well to stay in contention for the Semis while the Highveld Lions have been eliminated following two defeats and no wins in three games.
Dwayne Smith led the run chase of the Mumbai Indians scoring an unbeaten 67 from 47 balls. Kieron Pollard finished the same with an unbeaten cameo of 31 in 20 balls with 3 sixes. Mumbai Indians eased to the target with 9 balls to spare.
As usual all eyes were on Sachin Tendulkar when the Mumbai Indians innings began but the Master batsman disappointed his fans by having his stumps shattered by a slower one from Sohail Tanvir. Sachin Tendulkar had to walk off with his head down scoring 5 from 8 balls. The 40-year-old now has one more chance to prove his critics wrong and to justify his inclusion in any playing XI whether it is for the Mumbai Indians or Team India at the cost of deserving youngsters.
After Tendulkar’s exit in the 3rd over, Dinesh Karthik came in to join Dwayne Smith. The pair added 32 runs for the 2nd wicket before Karthik got caught at point after failing to keep his cut shot down off leggie Imran Tahir. Skipper Rohit Sharma replaced him to put up a promising partnership with Smith. Rohit looked very good with a couple of cover drives but got out for 20 (from 17 balls) when a well struck pull shot of his found the fielder at deep backward squareleg.
The chase wasn’t tough at all for Mumbai Indians as the Lions never quite threatened to get back into the game. Kieron Pollard took his time before he launched his missiles while Dwayne Smith kept his end intact to take Mumbai Indians to a much needed victory.
Earlier in the evening, Mumbai Indians had the Lions reeling at 81 for 5 in the 14th over. There was a slight interruption caused by a floodlight tower failure at the start of the match. Lions lost their first wicket in the 5th over when Rassie van der Dussen miscued a pull off the pacy Mitchell Johnson to squareleg with just 29 on the board. Harbhajan Singh provided the next wicket by striking the pad of left-handed Quinton de Kock (19 from 22 balls) for an lbw.
Pragyan Ojha took two wickets in a good spell while tall medium pacer Rishi Dhawan cleaned up Neil McKenzie to leave Lions in tatters. Just when it looked as if the Lions would fold out to a low total, Skipper Alviro Petersen and Dwaine Pretorious produced a wonderful partnership to take their team to 140 for 5. Petersen, who came in at no.5 scored 35* from 27 balls while all-rounder Pretorious scored a quick 31* from 21 balls.
Harbhajan Singh had a great evening taking 1 for 19 in his 4 overs. Rishi Dhawan with 1 for 21 was the other impressive bowler for the Mumbai Indians.
Toss and Teams: Mumbai Indians have won the toss and asked Lions to bat first in the crucial Group A Match at Jaipur. Mumbai Indians have gone in with an unchanged team while Lions have made two changes with Neil McKenzie and Imran Tahir replacing Temba Bavuma and Thami Tsolekelie.
Lions: Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Alviro Petersen (C), Neil McKenzie, Imran Tahir, Jean Symes, Sohail Tanvir, Dwaine Pretorius, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Rohit Sharma (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha