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Johannesburg: Chennai Super Kings defeated the Mumbai Indians by 6 runs in a dead rubber at the Wanderers on Saturday. The two Indian sides had been knocked out after the Highveld Lions had defeated Yorkshire in the first match of the day.
Chasing the 174-run target, Mumbai’s openers were lucky to be dropped by Murali Vijay at mid-off, but failed to capitalise on the lives offered. Tendulkar fell after being caught by Raina at point, and Smith top-edged the ball to Vijay to third man, who made no mistake this time around. Mumbai Indians 21/2. Would Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik force a change in the script?
For a while it did look like they would offer a good fight. Sharma managed a start, smashing 32 off 26 before holing out to Vijay. Dinesh Karthik went ahead, using the slog sweep to good effect, despite taking a couple of blows on the fingers. The little keeper-batsman brought up his 50, and with Kieron Pollard forged an important partnership, mindful of the fact that the target was growing on them.
The two waited till the start of the 18th over, before cutting loose at R.Ashwin’s expense. 24 runs came from that over as Pollard and Karthik went berserk. With the equation down to 27 from 12, Karthik struck a six before being bowled off a slower ball. Harbhajan Singh wasted three precious deliveries as the match moved to the final over, with 19 needed from 6. All eyes on Kieron Pollard.
Pollard fell after hitting a six, and so did Harbhajan. Good catches from Raina and Saha doing the trick. With 7 needed from the last ball, Mitchell Johnson could only run the ball to long-off. A dead rubber brought alive with good performances of no consequence.
Earlier, Harbhajan Singh won the toss and asked the Super Kings to bat first. It would be a decision to regret, as Faf du Plessis and Murali Vijay punished Mumbai’s bowlers with some fearless hitting. Johnson, Malinga and Kulkarni were smashed around without any regard for previous reputation. Running out of ideas, Harbhajan came out to bowl, only to be greeted with two fours by Murali Vijay.
Thankfully for Mumbai, Vijay (39) was bowled as he came down the track to Pragyan Ojha. Chennai ambled along to bring up their 100 in just the tenth over. Lasith Malinga then struck when it mattered removing Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina off consecutive balls. This double strike broke Chennai’s momentum, making sure that they batted with brakes.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck a few lusty blows in his knock, but CSK’s batting withered away after the explosive start provided by its openers. They eventually finished with 173/8, when a total of 200+ was certainly on the cards.
In the end, it wouldn’t matter.