Mumbai pip Punjab in thriller



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Mumbai: Mumbai Indians held their nerve to pip Kings XI Punjab by four runs at the Wankhede stadium on Monday.

Kings XI began their chase of the 175-run target, knowing that they had been careless with the ball. Mandeep Singh was sent packing by Malinga, playing across, only to be yorked. One drop Manan Vohra drove the ball straight to point. 16/2. Not a good start.

But did you see the catch of the match?

Shaun Marsh smashed Pragyan Ojha with a shot that was all set to clear long on, where Kieron Pollard was watching. Just as the ball was set to sail over the ropes, Pollard jumped, at the right time, to pick up an excellent one-handed catch that brought the crowd at the stadium to their feet. If there was any hope left- it would be upto the two Davids- Hussey and Miller to see them through.

Hussey would contribute 34, and Miller did his best to take the match to the end, despite losing partners at the other end. After smashing his fifth six, the left-hander hit the ball straight to Sachin Tendulkar at cover. As he walked back to the dugout for 56, it was clear that Mumbai had picked up a big wicket.

17 from 6. Praveen Kumar did well to take four runs, and was peeved when Asad Rauf failed to call a no-ball when Kulkarni sent a ball over the waist. He smashed a six, one-handed, to bring the target down to five from the last delivery. All he managed to do was hit the ball to Tendulkar at point.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first. Sachin Tendulkar struck two boundaries, had long discussions with the umpire over his issues with the sight screen, before being bowled by Praveen Kumar courtesy an inside edge. Dinesh Karthik joined Dwayne Smith, and the two put together a 32-run partnership, before Karthik lost his furniture to Gony.

Smith carried on, smashing Gony for three fours, before turning his attention to Chawla, hitting the leg-spinner for a six. Eager to carry on in the same vein, Smith paid the price, being caught by Miller at long-on.

It would be the last wicket that Mumbai would lose.

Kieron Pollard walked in and smashed a six off the very first ball he faced. Kings XI had an opportunity to stump the big man, when Pollard stepped out, only to miss. Keeper Gurkeerat failed to put two gloves around the ball, allowing the West Indian to get away. Rohit Sharma went hammer and tongs thereafter, getting his front foot out of the way, to smash the ball over midwicket for a huge six.

There would be five more sixes from Sharma’s bat.

After sending a bouncer from Azhar Mahmood for his second six, Sharma went inside out to clear long-off for his third. Praveen Kumar bowled a relatively tight penultimate over, giving away only eight, when Kings XI skipper David Hussey decided to bring himself on for the final six deliveries. There would be carnage, as Sharma smashed three sixes and two fours, adding 27 to Mumbai’s total off the final over.

174/3 would be a winning total. If you noticed, Adam Gilchrist sat out. Would he have allowed Hussey to bowl the last over?

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