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An incredible game of cricket at the Wankhede Stadium went down to the wire as the Mumbai Indians were rescued at the death by the incredible power hitting of late replacement Dwayne Smith as he smashed 14 runs on the last 3 balls of the match to steer his side to an unlikely win. The match ebbed and flowed radically with the Chennai Super Kings batting first and posting a useful 173 runs on the board courtesy useful contributions from most of their top order. Mumbai came back strongly to pick up 5 wickets for 15 runs on the last 13 deliveries to keep the target within manageable proportions. A 126-run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar (74) and Rohit Sharma (60) put Mumbai well on the course to victory before they too collapsed near the end, losing 7 wickets for 25 runs before a magical unbeaten 24 from 9-balls from Smith saw them home on the last ball. The win edges Mumbai ever closer to a play-off spot, while leaving Chennai's hopes of defending their title in a world of trouble.
The Chennai Super Kings, in desperate need for some points, take on the Mumbai Indians in what promises to be a mouth watering contest between two sides packed with match winners. The flip of the coin went the way of the home side, and they raised a few eyebrows by opting to bowl first. Skipper MS Dhoni shared at the toss that both he and Suresh Raina were carrying niggles, but were still in the playing eleven. Chennai named an unchanged squad, while Mumbai made a couple of changes to their side, opting to bring in a seamer in RP Singh for Pragyan Ojha, while giving new signing Dwayne Smith a game as well in place of a rather unfortunate Thisara Perera.
The mandatory powerplay saw an exciting contest between bat and ball with the Mumbai seamers having the better of the early exchanges with Murali Vijay fortunate to escape an inside edge which gave a coat of varnish to the stumps before RP Singh dropped Faf du Plessis off Munaf Patel. After 4 overs Mumbai were very much on top with Chennai posting only 22 runs. Vijay exploded in the 5th over of the innings smashing Patel for 24, including 3 sixes to announce his return to form. The first of those may have well been caught on the boundary had James Franklin not come in just a tad. Harbhajan Singh missed a trick by not bowling RP Singh further despite the left-arm seamer getting genuine swing early on, perhaps sticking to a pre-decided allocation by the team management. Chennai though were unfortunate to lose Du Plessis against the run of play for 9, run out after being called by Vijay for a single, but being sent back far too late. RP redeeming himself for missing an earlier catch by nailing the stumps dead on. At the end of the powerplay, Chennai had posted 52/1 courtest of that one big over.
RP Singh was brought back into the attack in the 7th over, and knocked over Vijay for 41 with his 4th delivery, leaving the opening batsman's stumps in complete disarray.
Chennai needed a partnership, and got one courtesy Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo with the former doing the bulk of the scoring. The duo added 61 runs in just over 7 overs to take Chennai to 114/2 in 14 overs heading into the strategic timeout.
The timeout worked to Mumbai's advantage as Raina threw his wicket away on the first ball after it, with RP Singh taking a good catch diving to his left off James Franklin to send the Chennai batsman back to the hutch for 36.
MS Dhoni came out to join Bravo, and scored 35 from under 3 overs to push the score on to 149/3 heading into Malinga territory at the end of the innings. An exciting Malinga over had everything in it as a gorgeous bouncer was followed by two hits to the fence from Bravo (40) before a perfect yorker uprooted the West Indian's leg stump. Dhoni also fell in the next over, caught at the boundary by a leaping Rohit Sharma off RP Singh for 25. Singh added a third wicket to his kitty by bowling Albie Morkel off his pads for 3 to keep Mumbai in the contest.
Lasith Malinga finished things off as only he can, conceding just 4 runs in the final over, also picking up wickets on the last 2 balls of the innings to restrict Chennai to 173/8 in their 20 overs.
Chennai made a dream start to their defence with Ben Hilfenhaus opening the innings with a maiden. The burly Australian made his figures look even better when he had James Franklin caught at mid-on for 1 to put Mumbai quickly on the backfoot. It could have been worse for Mumbai with the edges of Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma's blades bringing Mumbai boundaries. Sachin came back strongly with three boundaries off Morkel's second over to bring the hosts back into the reckoning. Sharma joined in the fun in the very next over hitting Hilfenhaus back over his head for a boundary before pulling one over midwicket for 6. Tendulkar continued to ride his luck with R Ashwin missing two tough chances off his bowling on consecutive deliveries as Mumbai finished the powerplay at 46/1.
The Tendulkar - Sharma partnership continued to blossom, and made its way through to 74/1 at the half-way stage of the innings to leave Mumbai with an even 100 to get the last 10 overs. Sensing the need to get a move on, Tendulkar accelerated in the next over, taking Albie Morkel for another 14 runs, also bringing up his first half-century of this season's IPL in the process.
The runs continued to flow unabated as Mumbai powered along to 116/1 at the end of 14 overs as Chennai found it impossible to cut out the boundaries on a good batting surface. With 58 needed from 36 balls, it was Mumbai's game to lose.
Fifteen runs off the fifteenth over by Shadab Jakati brought Mumbai even closer to the target. Chennai got a lifeline in the next over as they picked up the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for 74 with Du Plessis taking possibly the catch of the season at short extra-cover, plucking a ball travelling at the rate of knots out of thin air, off R Ashwin.
Dinesh Karthik came in at no.4 and made a quickfire 11 from 5 balls before Dwayne Bravo left the keeper-batsman's stumps in disarray. Heading into the last 3 overs, Mumbai needed just 9 an over to clinch the win.
MS Dhoni pulled a rabbit out of the hat to toss the ball to Ravindra Jadeja for the 18th over. The left-arm spinner responded to his skipper's call by bowling both Ambati Rayudu (0) and Rohit Sharma (60) in a magical 2 run over to bring the game right back in the balance. The wickets continued to tumble as Du Plessis ran out Robin Peterson with a direct hit in the next over leaving Mumbai 23 to win from 9 balls.
Dwayne Smith responded to the pressure by smacking the next ball for 6, but Bravo came back well on the last ball of the over to dismiss Harbhajan Singh for a golden duck. A single to Smith on first ball of the final over took the recognized batsman off strike, allowing Ben Hilfenhaus to remove Lasith Malinga's middle stump. Smith finally got the strike again with 14 needed from 3 balls.
The West Indian, a late call-up last week for the Mumbai Indians to replace the ailing Mitchell Johnson, won the game for Mumbai by smashing 6, 4 and 4 on the next three balls to take Mumbai home. Ben Hilfenhaus did not help his cause by bowling two full tosses, but a length ball with 4 needed on the last delivery was smashed past long-off for the winning runs.
The energized Mumbai Indians will continue to enjoy home comforts when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, 9th May. The Chennai Super Kings meanwhile aren't in action till Thursday when they head over to the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur to battle the Rajasthan Royals.
Mumbai Indians: S Tendulkar, J Franklin, R Sharma, A Rayudu, D Karthik (wk), D Smith, RP Singh, H Singh (c), R Peterson, M Patel, L Malinga.
Chennai Super Kings: M Vijay, F du Plessis, S Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), R Jadeja, D Bravo, A Morkel, S Badrinath, R Ashwin, S Jakati, B Hilfenhaus
Chennai Super Kings 173/8 (20 overs, 8.65rpo)
M Vijay 41 (29) RP Singh 3-29
D Bravo 40 (33) L Malinga 3-25
Mumbai Indians 174/8 (20 overs, 8.7rpo)
S Tendulkar 74 (44) B Hilfenhaus 2-34
R Sharma 59 (44) R Jadeja 2-12
Mumbai win by 2 wickets on the final ball of the match
File Photograph Copyright: Michael Henn
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