Mumbai in final after tense finish
Mumbai Indians 169 for 6 (Smith 62) beat Rajasthan Royals 165 for 6 (Dravid 43, Harbhajan 3-23) by 4 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Half-volleys hit straight to hand. A fielder found perfectly with a long hop. Crazy wide balls. A dropped catch to finally lose the match. Another night in the life of IPL. After which Mumbai Indians made it to the finals. Chennai Super Kings have already made it to the final. Chasing 166, which was thanks to Lasith Malinga's profligate last over, Mumbai were on their way with Dwayne Smith and Aditya Tare strolling through, but a spate of poor shots made for some late drama.
Mumbai were 70 for 0 after nine overs when Tare played a chip straight down long-on's throat. It was not an attempt at hitting a six. It was not an attempt to keep the ball along the ground. Nor was it a mis-hit. He was caught comfortably at long-on. While Smith continued to bat solidly, Dinesh Karthik cut a short and wide delivery straight to point. Mumbai were now 125 for 2 at the start of the 15th over, and Rohit Shamra was soon to make it 128 for 3 with a slog down the wrong line.
In the 17th over, Smith timed a half-volley a bit too well and found deep midwicket to fall for 62 off 44. In the next over, the 18th, Pollard did the same, and this walk had now become treacherous. Ambati Rayudu was the last of the recognised batsmen, and he responded with a six to cow corner to make it 16 off 10 balls. Two balls later, keeping with the spirit of the match, Rayudu mis-hit a full toss, Brad Hodge ran in from deep square leg, got under it, but dropped it.
In the last over, Shane Watson, who had had an ordinary time with the ball thus far, produced a moment of inspiration, an accurate legcutter to knock back Rayudu's off stump. With six required off four balls, and two new batsmen at the wicket, it was game on again. Rishi Dhawan, the young Himachal Pradesh allrounder, produced the other moment of inspiration, ramping a length ball over short fine leg. Game over.
Dhawan was one of the inspirational men for Mumbai with the ball. Brought in to replace Munaf Patel, who was ordinary when replacing the injured Dhawal Kulkarni, bowled ahead of Malinga, and kept it quiet. Harbhajan Singh came on and broke the sizeable but slowish opening stand when he bowled Ajinkya Rahane behind his legs. Harbhajan found a way to stay in the match. Of the six wickets that fell, he either took or caught five.
The biggest of those wickets was Watson, who top-edged him to square leg. Royals kept losing wickets until Dishant Yagnik gave them a total to defend with an innovative 31 off 17. Unsettled by that, Malinga bowled two sets of big wides and conceded 18 runs in the last over. That wasn't to be the last bit of ordinary cricket on the night.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo