Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 11 - Mumbai Indians vs Highveld Lions
MI stay in hunt for semis after seven-wicket triumph
Set to chase 141, MI failed to get off to a great start as Sohail Tanvir and Lonwabo Tsotsobe did not give Smith and Sachin Tendulkar too many scoring opportunities early on. But the West Indian broke the shackles when he pulled a length delivery from Tanvir and deposited it into the stands at long-on. The left-armer came back strongly and struck a lethal blow when he deceived Tendulkar with a slower delivery and castled him.
Dinesh Karthik (13) and Rohit Sharma (20) perished after making useful contributions even as Smith remained unfazed at the other end and motored along. Karthik (13) hit Imran Tahir to the man at cover point, while Sharma’s pull shot landed in the hands of the fielder manning the square-leg boundary.
Smith picked up boundaries every now and then, and favoured the leg-side; he drove down the ground, pulled through midwicket and slog-swept through square-leg too. The 30-year-old brought up his half-century off 33 balls, in the 14th over.
In the company of Kieron Pollard, Smith carried his bat and ensured the Mumbai Indians got past the hurdle – with nine balls to spare. Smith remained unbeaten on 63, while Pollard scored 31 from 20 balls in an innings that included two boundaries and three sixes.
Imran Tahir (1/23) and Sohail Tanvir (1/15) impressed with the ball. While Tanvir caused a lot of grief bowling with his unusual action and changing his angles frequently, Tahir mixed his leg-breaks and googlies to good effect to keep the MI batsmen guessing.
Earlier in the evening, after being put in to bat Titans openers, Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock, struggled to get the ball off the square early on. Mitchell Johnson charged in with a lot of intensity and generated good pace and bounce in his first over, while Nathan Coulter-Nile tested Quinton de Kock with short deliveries at the other end. However, once the ball made contact with the bat, there were some delightful strokes played by both batsmen. van der Dussen hit two delightful strokes through the covers, while de Kock was fluent through the leg-side and picked up four boundaries – two each off Johnson and Coulter-Nile.
van der Dussen, after picking up a third boundary off Johnson, was done in by sharp bounce and holed out to the man at square-leg. de Kock picked up two more boundaries off the Australian, before batting out a maiden against Rishi Dhawan. The 20-year-old left-hander perished in the seventh over when he didn’t pick Harbhajan Singh’s doosra and was trapped leg-before.
Neil McKenzie, included in the Lions’ XI after recovering from his injury, picked up a boundary and a six, before he was bowled through the gate by a Dhawan in-dipper. Just past the half-way stage, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha bowled four overs in tandem, conceded 21 runs, but more importantly picking up two wickets.
Cameos from skipper Alviro Petersen and Dwaine Pretorius ensured that the Lions finished at a respectable 140/5 at the end of their 20 overs. Petersen was unbeaten on 35 (27 balls), while Pretorius made 31 from 21 balls and hit two sixes – including the longest six in Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013.
Though Pragyan Ojha was MI’s most successful bowler with two wickets, Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the bowlers conceding just nineteen runs in his four overs. Rishi Dhawan too impressed, finishing with figures of 4-1-21-1.
Trivia: The length bowled by Mitchell Johnson in his four-over spell: Yorker – 2 deliveries, Full Length – 7 deliveries, Good Length – 7 deliveries, Short-of-a-length – 8 deliveries.
71 percent of Dwayne Smith’s 63 runs were scored on the leg-side; three of his four boundaries and all three of his sixes were scored on that side of the pitch.
Kieron Pollard scored four runs from his first 11 balls. He scored 27 runs off the next nine deliveries he faced.
Man of the Match: Dwayne Smith for his unbeaten 63.