Mumbai prevail on night of nerves
Kolkata Knight Riders began nervously, Mumbai Indians finished similarly, but it was Mumbai who booked a place in the Champions League T20 and in semi-final equivalent of this IPL
Mumbai Indians 148 for 6 (Blizzard 51, Tendulkar 36, Kallis 2-18, Shakib 2-24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 147 for 7 (ten Doeschate 70*, Munaf 3-27) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kolkata Knight Riders began nervously, Mumbai Indians finished similarly, but it was Mumbai who booked a place in the Champions League T20 and in the semi-final equivalent of IPL 2009. What will irk Kolkata is that they were the better side for 39 overs in the previous match between these sides, but one bad over then set up this rematch in the quarter-final equivalent. Mumbai then did enough to make use on the second chance.
Kolkata's top order came out trying too hard for a big start, losing four wickets for 20, and Ryan ten Doeschate's 70 was not recovery enough on a good Wankhede track with short boundaries. A blazing start from Aiden Blizzard and Sachin Tendulkar seemed to have put to rest Mumbai's habit of muddled chases, but they choked again. For the second consecutive game, though, James Franklin scuppered Kolkata's hopes. This time, with much more on the line, he produced a less dramatic, but more assured 29.
Munaf Patel bowled smartly to capitalise on Kolkata's palpable nervous energy, taking three wickets, including those of Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan. It was a subtle change-up immediately after being driven for four that sent Kallis back. The wicket-taking delivery was pitched in the same area, but was bowled with a scrambled seam and was hence a touch slower. The slice settled with a diving Tendulkar.
Gautam Gambhir, Shreevats Goswami and Manoj Tiwary concentrated just on the boundaries, in the process failing to place the good balls for singles. The dot balls mounted, and all three fell to shots they would normally not play. ten Deoschate played sensibly, though, looking for singles and punishing the bad balls. That calm rubbed off on Yusuf, their 60-run stand took the run-rate past six an over, and a big finish could not have been ruled out.
Munaf, though, returned to interrupt the comeback with more clever bowling. Convinced that the short ball would trouble Yusuf, he let his Baroda team-mate have some. The first one took a top edge for four, the second went for a single along the ground, and the third one was mistimed over midwicket. Munaf persisted, and with his fourth bouncer of the over, he sent his man back.
Ambati Rayudu, a part-time wicketkeeper, proceeded to miss ten Doeschate and Shakib Al Hasan in the next two overs. ten Doeschate went on to score the highest for a No. 6 this IPL and Kolkata got 60 in the last six, yet a blazing start to the chase was always going to knock them out. Blizzard and Tendulkar provided just that.
Blizzard relished the pace of Brett Lee, while Tendulkar took care of the spin of Iqbal Abdulla and Yusuf Pathan. A lot of class and a lot of power merged effectively to bring up the fifty in the fifth over. There was a remote semblance of redemption for Lee when he came back to remove Blizzard, but not before the batsman had hit him for four and six in that over.
Then Mumbai stumbled. Rohit Sharma ran himself out, Tendulkar fell to a sharp bouncer, and Rayudu seemed to have been sawn off. From 81 for 0 in the eighth over, Mumbai had been reduced to 103 for 4 in the 13th. A mini-partnership ensued, but Shakib trapped Pollard to make it 123 for 5. T Suman couldn't handle the nerves and holed out to long-off.
The asking-rate crept past run-a-ball for the last two overs, but a top edge off Lee's first ball brought it back to 11 off 11. L Balaji, who failed to defend 21 in the last match, didn't get a shot at redemption. The last over went to Shakib - his figures 3-0-17-2 until then - who needed to defend seven. Harbhajan lofted the second ball over midwicket, and let out a roar.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo