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Mumbai lose again as Perfect Sydney pick up 4th straight win

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tendulkar_iplThe Sydney Sixers, without their one true superstar Shane Watson, won the toss and elected to make first use of a two paced wicket at Kingsmead, Durban. A patchy batting effort which was built around a workmanlike 41 from Steve Smith and included some run rate boosting cameos up and down the order allowed the Sixers to post an underpar 136-7 in their 20 overs. Mumbai, while perpetually behind the asking rate, had the game very much within their grasp at 88-3 heading into the last 5 overs, but lost 5 wickets for 15 runs in the next 4 overs to knock themselves out of the contest. It was a very professional performance from the Sixers, who showed that despite the absence of Watto, they are very much a force to be reckoned with heading into the semi-finals. 

The Sixers got off to a good start with Michael Lumb racing away to 28 from just 22 balls before falling to Lasith Malinga, but not before doing some damage to the Mumbai spearhead's bowling figures. At the other end, Peter Nevill had been largely deprived of the strike, but he and skipper Brad Haddin fell for 5 and 0 respectively in one Munaf Patel over. The former Indian pace bowler celebrated his return to the Mumbai side with excellent figures of 2-17.

Nic Maddinson smashed his way to 27 from just 13 balls to restore some momentum for Sydney, but Mumbai kept up their amazing habit of taking wickets in pairs to remove Maddinson and Moises Henriques in quick succession, the latter falling for a two-ball duck.

Steve Smith righted the rocking Sydney ship and helped it find safe passage in the harbour with a run a ball 41, while Watson's replacement for this game, Nathan McCullum smashed an unbeaten 20 from 12 balls towards the end of the innings to help it to 136.

The Sixers started well with the ball, keeping the Mumbai openers Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith in check during the first 5 overs, conceding just 20 runs, but failed to pick up a wicket. A six each from Smith and Tendulkar, ironically after the field spread took Mumbai to 50-0 at the end of 8 overs. However, Moises Henriques brought Sydney right back into the contest, removing both openers in the 9th over. Steve O'Keefe sneaked in a maiden over to Rohit Sharma to put the pressure right bck on Mumbai, who were 53-2 at the half-way stage of their innings.

Sharma recovered to make his way to 16 but was run out by Pat Cummins, trying to pinch the strike. Mumbai meandered to 88-3 in 15 overs, leaving them needing 49 to win from 30 balls in what was becoming a rather close contest. The young pacer then had Kieron Pollard caught behind for just 4 in his next over off an ultra-wide delivery that the batsmen did ridiculously well to reach. Just a single was scored in that exceptional 16th over, leaving Mumbai with a mountain to climb in the last 4.

Mumbai continued to commit hara-kiri with Dinesh Karthik run out for 18 in the next over before Mitchell Starc came back and removed Thisara Perera and Ambati Rayudu in the 18th over.

Mumbai were left with an unlikely 33 to win from the last over, and Harbhajan Singh went down like the captain of any sinking ship should, smashing 20 from the over to add some respectability to the scoreline as the Sixers registered a 12 run win.

The Sixers will now head to SuperSport Park, Centurion where they will take on the yet to be determined runners-up of Group A in the second semi-final on Friday, 26th October, while the Mumbai Indians will head home win-less after an exceptionally disappointing showing in South Africa, 

Mini Scorecard:

Sydney Sixers 136/7 (20 overs, 6.8rpo)
S Smith 41 (41) M Patel 2-17
M Lumb 28 (22) L Malinga 2-36

Mumbai Indians 124/8 (20 overs, 5.8rpo)
D Smith 26 (28) M Starc 2-32
S Tendulkar 22 (23) P Cummins 2-16

Sixers win by 12 runs

File Photograph