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The Report by Sidharth Monga
April 24, 2013
Mumbai Indians 162 for 5 (Smith 62, Rohit 34, Narine 3-17) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 6 (Kallis 37, Ojha 2-21) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Harbhajan Singh went for 26 runs in a horror first over of the match, but he hit a six in the last over that broke the hearts of a packed Eden Gardens to top off Mumbai Indian's comeback in the match. From 46 for 1 after three overs of the match, Mumbai clawed their way back through Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga and Pragyan Ojha who went for 72 runs in their 12 overs and took six wickets, including just three runs in the special last over bowled by Malinga. Dwayne Smith then led the chase with batting more hit than miss, followed by handy contributions from Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard before Harbhajan redeemed himself for the night.
There was a measure of redemption for Rohit too, who was leading in the absence of Ricky Ponting who had sat himself out. Rohit went against the common knowledge that Yusuf Pathan has been going through a wretched time against pace, and instead provided him spin at the start. Yusuf tucked into Harbhajan who seemed to lose fresh chunks of confidence every ball.
Immediately partial redemption arrived for Harbhajan when Yusuf edged to him at slip the first legitimate delivery of pace he faced. Mumbai had got a toe in the door there, and little by little they shoved their foot in. Johnson got Yusuf, Ojha frustrated and got the other big two, Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis, the latter once again for a pedestrian strike-rate, which often gets masked by Kallis' all-round ability and stylish stroke-play. Kallis wasn't available to bowl today, and the man substituting for him was involved in a crucial and unfortunate incident.
Coming together at 92 for 3 in the 12th over, Eoin Morgan and Manoj Tiwary tried to force the pace, but Johnson and Malinga proved to be too good towards the end. Morgan hit Johnson straight to midwicket, and Malinga's last over was a reminder of how impossible it was to hit him was when he was at his best. A mix of yorkers and slower balls had two sets of stumps demolished.
In the chase, it seemed like Mumbai were playing against one man, Sunil Narine, who took three wickets for 17, and turned the game around every time he was called upon, but the batsmen were smart and batted well against the others. Narine dismissed the birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar through the gate pretty early, but by then the scratchy Smith was beginning to time a few.
And Smith is a dangerous batsman that way. He can look scratchy before hitting a brief purple patch and taking the slightly relaxed opposition by surprise. As he did in this game, even with wickets falling at the other end. By the time he got out - in Narine's second over, in his second spell - he had clobbered 62 of Mumbai's 82 runs, and had left them 78 to get in nine overs.
Captain Rohit now targeted Sachithra Senanayake, who registered his most expensive Twenty20 figures: 1 for 50 in four overs. Two sixes in one over brought the target down to 56 off seven overs, an asking rate consistent with the one at the start of the innings. Normally, you would back the chasing side, but Narine still had two overs remaining, but even before Narine was called back a slice of luck awaited Mumbai.
For the second time this season, a Knight Riders fielder at long-off lost a catch in the lights, and this one proved to be mighty expensive. Pollard was missed by substitute Brendon McCullum, and he had brought the target down to 10 by the time he eventually got out. Narine, though, had his last say before retiring for the night, taking Rohit with the last ball he bowled, leaving Mumbai 28 to get off three overs.
Pollard looked assured for two overs, but was done in by an extremely slow delivery at the start of the last over, bowled by Rajat Bhatia. It was clear the trick had lost all its novelty when Harbhajan waited deep in the crease, and smacked a slow dolly over midwicket. Three off three was easy to get after that.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
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