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Mumbai crowned CLT20 Champions again

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The reigning Indian Premier League champions, the Mumbai Indians, were crowned the Champions League T20 winners today with a hard earned 33 run win over a combative Rajasthan Royals outfit that failed to fire when the going got tough. All the pre-match hype was about Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, but once the action got underway it was all about the cricket being played on the pitch.

The Royals dominated the first 10 overs of each innings, but Mumbai came back well with the bat and the ball to script a win that most would have expected given their considerably greater budgets and depth of talent.

 

The Rajasthan Royals won the toss and opted to chase, hoping to take advantage of the considerably smaller Feroz Shah Kotla where defending targets is almost always a challenge. Mumbai made a steady but slow start and at the midway stage of their innings were a considerably under par 60-1 with Sachin Tendulkar having fallen for 15 to a beauty from Shane Watson which came back into the maestro and knocked out his off-peg.

Dwayne Smith and Ambati Rayudu were laying a platform for Mumbai, who exploded in the last 10 overs, adding another 142 runs to take their total to 202-6. Pravin Tambe was exceptional with the ball once again, going through his 4 overs, taking 2-19, but such was the quality of the Mumbai middle order that every batsman who came out had the license and perhaps more crucially the ability to clear the fence. Glenn Maxwell and Rohit Sharma made 37 and 33 respectively, each from 14 deliveries faced while Dinesh Karthik too added a late 15 from 5 to take Mumbai past the psychological 200 run mark.

Rajasthan's skipper Rahul Dravid responded to the tall ask by dropping himself out of the top order and brought Kusal Perera in to open the batting with Rahane. Perera came into the team as a late replacement for the injured Brad Hodge, whose quality as a finisher for this Rajasthan side was sorely missed due to the freak collision he suffered in the semi-final against Chennai.

Perera was run out for 8, but Sanju Samson (60) and Ajinkya Rahane (65) laid a fantastic foundation for Rajasthan, keeping them well in touch with the asking rate and very much in the contest. Samson's dismissal to Pragyan Ojha in the 12th over marked the changing of the tides for this game, and Harbhajan Singh spun a web around the Rajasthan middle order to spin the game Mumbai's way.

After conceding 16 runs in his first over, Harbhajan picked up 4 wickets from his last 10 balls, including 3 in his final over to bowl Mumbai to a famous win.

Rajasthan's lopsided batting order as a result of Hodge's absence and the stiff target meant that Rahul Dravid walked in to bat at no.8 with his team needing 44 from the last 3 overs. The Indian legend known for his textbook play fell to a yorker from Nathan Coulter-Nile attempting an agricultural heave when on 1.

The match ended shortly after with Rajasthan getting bowled out for 169 in the 19th over with their lower order batting card reading likely a forgotten phone number.

It was a deserving win for Mumbai as their quality stood out in the end. Ajinkya Rahane and Pravin Tambe walked away with the honours for best batsman and bowler for the tournament, but they would have happily traded their awards for a win. Harbhajan Singh and Dwayne Smith walked away with the Man of the Match and Man of the Series honours.

Mini Scorecard:

Mumbai Indians 202/6 (20 overs, 10.10rpo)

D Smith 44 (39) P Tambe 2-19 (4)

G Maxwell 37 (14) S Watson 1-30 (3)

Rajasthan Royals 169 all out (18.5 overs, 8.97 rpo)

S Samson 60 (33) H Singh 4-32 (4)

A Rahane 65 (47) K Pollard 3-31 (3.5)

Mumbai Indians win by 33 runs