Mumbai Indians make CLT20 semis cut

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) Mumbai Indians ensured that three of the four Champions League Twenty20 semifinalists will be Indian teams as it thrashed Perth Scorchers by six wickets at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Wednesday.

Chasing 150 in 20 overs, the reigning Indian Premier League (IPL) champions needed to reach home in 14.2 overs to qualify for the semis. Opener Dwayne Smith (48) and skipper Rohit Sharma (51 not out) took it upon themselves as they clobbered their way home in 13.2 overs in the Group A clash.

West Indian Smith took off brilliantly, hammering 11 runs off the first over. A packed house on a national holiday (Gandhi Jayanti) wanted to see batting legend Sachin Tendulkar provide some sparks but he failed, getting caught for a duck as he flicked one to deep square leg.

However, Smith's 25-ball knock increased the noise levels in the stadium as he sent the Scorchers bowlers on a leather hunt, smashing five fours and three sixes.

Sharma played a responsible innings, sending the poor deliveries into the stands and showing due respect to the good ones. After Smith's dismissal, Kieron Pollard hit a brilliant 18-ball 23-run cameo.

Sharma, on the other hand, continued drubbing the Perth bowlers as he finished with three boundaries and four sixes.

Middle order batsman Ambati Rayudu hit two sixes of the last two deliveries to take his side home.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians bowled well to restrict the Australian side to 149/6 from their 20 overs despite being a bit sloppy in the field.

Off spinner Harbhajan Singh opened the bowling and performed brilliantly, as his first spell figures read 3-0-13-0.

The two left-handed Scorchers openers Ashton Agar (35) and skipper Simon Katich (13) struck a good opening wicket partnership for 55 runs before left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (2-17) spun his way through to take two wickets in the 10th over, immediately slowing down the Australian side.

Harbhajan was later brought on to restrict the Scorchers but his fourth and last over went for 18, ruining his figures as he was hit for a six and two boundaries.

Just when the Scorchers were looking to increase their pace, pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile was brought in and immediately broke the third-wicket 58-run partnership by bowling out Hilton Cartwright (28) and Ashton Turner (0) off consecutive deliveries.

Coulter-Nile ended with figures of 3-19 from his four overs while medium pacer Rishi Dhawan scalped one.

For Scorchers, Sam Whiteman scored an unbeaten 51 off 32 deliveries, studded with six boundaries and two sixes.

Mumbai Indians will now play the second semifinal against Group B toppers Chennai Super Kings here Saturday.

Rajasthan Royals is the third Indian team in the semifinals.

Brief scores: Perth Scorchers 149/6 in 20 overs (Sam Whiteman not out 51, Ashton Agar 35, Hilton Cartwright 28; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/19, Pragyan Ojha 2/17, Rishi Dhawan 1/30) lost to Mumbai Indians 152/4 in 13.2 overs (Rohit Sharma not out 51, Dwayne Smith 45, Kieron Pollard 23; Brad Hogg 2/26, Jason Behrendorff 2/31).

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