Smith keeps Mumbai's CLT20 dreams alive

Jaipur, Sep 27 (IANS) Dwayne Smith starred in Mumbai Indians seven-wicket win over the Lions in a Champions League Twenty20 Group A match here Friday that kept alive his team's dreams of qualifying for the knockout stage.

With one loss and a washout game, Mumbai Indians were in dire need of a win and the West Indian all-rounder obliged as his unbeaten 63 off 47 balls helped overhaul Lions' score of 140 for five with nine balls to spare at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here.

Mumbai are tied with second placed Otago from New Zealand on six points having played a match more. Rajasthan Royals lead the table with two wins from as many games.

The win, however, didn't come easy for Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar (5) once again failed to show any sort of form. Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir had him in heaps of trouble, beating the Indian maestro's bat consistently.

And finally a slower ball from the Pakistani beat Tendulkar all ends up and disturbed the timber.

Dinesh Karthik (13) too didn't look comfortable and fell to South African spinner Imran Tahir.

A lot was expected from captain Rohit Sharma but his innings came to a premature end after getting caught at the square leg boundary.

The wickets tumbling at the other end had no effect on Smith as he continued his merry making. Fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard (31 not out) joined him and together the two carted Lions bowlers all over the ground.

Pollard finished with a flourish as he smashed three sixes and two fours.

Earlier, the movement and bounce caused the Lions all sorts of problems. They were in trouble from the outset. Rassie van der Dussen (13) was the first to go, falling victim to Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson in the fifth over.

There was plenty of grass on the pitch, which reminded Lions captain Alviro Petersen of the pitch at his home ground in Johannesburg and it seemed Quinton de Kock (19) was feeling at home as well, spanking four very stylish boundaries.

However, Harbhajan Singh's guile got the better of the young left-hander and he was sent packing in the seventh over.

The Lions suddenly started to crumble as they lost veteran South African Neil McKenzie (15), Jean Symes (14) and Sohail Tanvir (2) all in quick succession.

With the score on 81 for five, Mumbai Indians would have thought of restricting the opposition to a low score.

But Petersen (35 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (31 not out) came to the rescue of their team with an unbeaten 59-run partnership. Pretorious was particularly aggressive, smacking two sixes and a four.

Brief Scores: Lions 140 for five in 20 overs (Alviro Petersen 35 not out, Dwaine Pretorius 31 not out; Pragyan Ojha 2-26, Harbhajan Singh 1-19) vs Mumbai Indians 141 for three in 18.3 overs (Dwayne Smith 63 not out, Kieron Pollard 31 not out; Sohail Tanvir 1-15, Dwaine Pretorius 1-26)

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