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Mumbai down haphazard Bangalore to win Champions League T20

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harbhajan_iplThe underdog Mumbai Indians, who struggled to field a fit eleven when the lucrative tournament began, tamed the top dogs Royal Challengers Bangalore to clinch the 2011 Champions League T20 crown by 31 runs and with it a jackpot of $2.5 million. Mumbai's slower bowlers led by their charismatic captain Harbhajan Singh stifled the RCB batsmen who lacked the application to graft on a tricky track at Chepauk. Eventually the Men in Red were bundled out for a disappointing 108 in their chase of 140 to win .The 'Golden wicket taker' Malinga got the better of Dilshan in the final over of his extended first spell and the spinners cashed in to trigger a collapse. Earlier in the evening, Mumbai batted first and stitched together 139 with James Franklin (41) being the substantial contributor.

As the curtains came down on Cricket's magnum opus - the Champions League T20, the Mumbai Indians locked horns with the Royal Challengers Bangalore amidst an electrifying atmosphere at the M.A.Chidambaram stadium, Chennai in an all IPL finale. Expectedly, both teams remained glued to their winning combinations from the semis. Cricket experts were of the unanimous opinion that the summit clash would boil down to RCB's top three vs Lasith Malinga. Mumbai, who lead Bangalore 6-4 on head to head won the toss and chose to put runs on board on a slow, two-paced pitch.

Dilshan, with his gentle off-break accepted the challenge of shouldering the new ball again. Kanwar though slog swept the Lankan skipper for half-a-dozen to ruin what would have been a good over. However, the youngster committed hara-kiri, running out his opening partner the dangerous Aiden Blizzard the very next over. There was an evident spring in RCB's step after the dismissal of the big fish-Blizzard. Bangalore's bowling department finally clicked and in the 4th over Nannes cleaned up Kanwar by means of an148kph yorker. Franklin, then looted 12 runs off Aravind's 2nd over to resurrect the Mumbai innings. The Indians were on the backfoot with 43-2 in the powerplay.

James Franklin oozed agression while Rayudu at the other end provided stability. The man from the state of Nizams transferred the pressure onto Vettori with a 'down the track six' over mid-wicket in the 9th over. But the Men in Red, who relish playing under pressure nailed Rayudu quickly for slightly better than a run-a-ball 22.

RCB's support cast - Bhatkal and Gayle chipped in to keep the Mumbai batsman at bay. Although Yadav's adventurous instincts paid off initially, he was run out by Daniel Vettori for backing up too far. Instantly Kiwi King, Franklin followed Yadav after making a stroke-filled 41 and the double run-outs (of Yadav and Franklin) saw Mumbai self-destruct rapidly. Daniel Vettori conjured up some magic to make short work of the Big Kieron Pollard and his counterpart Harbhajan Singh to leave Mumbai wounded at 109-7 in 15.3. Unfortunately Mumbai's malfunctioning middle order let them down to douse their hopes in this contest.

RCB's pace ace Nannes completed his spell with amazing figures of 1-14, a far cry from the pasting he had been taking on Bangalore's flat track. Lasith Malinga then began the rescue act with a couple of productive slogs that fetched maximum results. However, Malinga and Sathish holed out in the 19th over to put MI in a precarious situation. Indian national side's new entrant Aravind undid Chahal for 2 off the final ball of the innings as Mumbai huffed and puffed to 139 all out. Vividly, the impact-heavy Royal Challengers had their noses ahead.

Dilshan and Gayle ignited the chase with a couple of exquisite fours to reduce Malinga to a mere spectator. Mumbai's most potent weapon bowled a shoddy first two overs to concede 19 runs. Dilshan's back to back fours off Nechim kept the Bangalore outfit in good stead. The Daring Dilshan was on song as he found the fence consistently. But then Malinga, who was offered an extended spell came back to remove his Lankan commander for an enterprising 27. Bhajji extracted prodigious turn to astonish Gayle who was given out lbw to one which slid back. It was a controversial decision with the batsman having taken a long stride forward. RCB were 42-2 in 6 overs with the finale wide open.

The Punjab ka puttar, who was recently axed from the national squad, tied down the Royal Challengers. Mayank Aggarwal was bumped up the order to no.4, and was fortunate to get a life when Sathish failed to grasp an attempted scoop. Pollard and the slower men came into play as Mumbai continued to choke the flow of runs.

The Bangalore batsmen failed to do the basics right, looking for the big hits instead of milking the singles on offer in the middle overs. Aggarwal found Pollard in the deep, who completed the catch after juggling it thrice. Wickets fell in a heap and the spinners were in complete control of things. Firstly, Guru Harbhajan took out Kohli and then his student Chahal snapped up Karthik for a duck. The Men in Red were struggling at 81-5 in 15 overs owing to which the asking rate catapulted to over 11.

The early departure of Kaif brought Vettori into the hot seat with Mount Everest confronting the Challengers. Bhajji, who was out lbw to Vettori earlier in the big evening, enjoyed sweet revenge as he hunted down the hunter for a paltry single in his final over. Another mishit witnessed the Turbanator put one hand on the elite trophy as Bangalore lost Tiwary. Missile Malinga then bowled an incredible 18th over and Bangalore folded up for 108. The Mumbai Indians rose from the ashes like a phoenix to earn the title of 'Champion of Champions'!

Teams:

MI: S.Kanwar, A.Blizzard, A.Rayudu, J.Franklin, K.Pollard, S.Yadav, R.Satish, H.Singh(captain), Y.Chahal, L.Malinga, A.Nechim.

RCB: T.Dilshan, C.Gayle, V.Kohli, M.Aggarwal, S.Tiwary, R.Bhatkal, M.Kaif, D.Vettori(captain), A.Karthik, S.Aravind, D.Nannes

Mini Scorecard:

Mumbai Indians: 139 all out (20 overs, 6.95 rpo)
J.Franklin 41 (29) R.Bhatkal 3-21
S.Yadav 24 (17) D.Vettori 2-30

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 108 all out (19.2 overs, 5.58 rpo)
T.Dilshan 27(20) H.Singh 3-20
S.Tiwary 17(22)  Y.Chahal 2-9

MI won by 31 runs to clinch the 2011 CLT20

File Photograph Copyright:·Gayatri Naik

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