Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: SF 2 - Mumbai Indians vs Trinidad & Tobago
MI register 6-wicket win over T&T, set up title clash against RR
Needing to score at 7.70 runs per over, MI were steady off the blocks, with Dwayne Smith setting the early pace and dominating most of the strike. Sachin Tendulkar joined his partner in the fourth over with his trademark straight drive that raced away to the boundary. Tendulkar hit two towering sixes off Yannick Ottley as the Mumbai Indians raced to 49 for no loss before the fielding restrictions were relaxed.
Both Tendulkar (35 from 31 balls) and Smith continued to make merry, adding 31 runs in the next five overs, when the former edged one from Lendl Simmons to the wicketkeeper.
T&T made use of that opening to pick up few more wickets. Sunil Narine struck twice in his second over; he had Ambati Rayudu edging to the wicketkeeper for zero and then castled the dangerous Smith (59 from 38 balls). From 90 for no loss, MI had collapsed to 96/3 in a space of seven deliveries.
Dinesh Karthik, batting at No.4, and skipper Rohit Sharma (25 from 22 balls) batting at No.5, took their team to the brink with a 42-run partnership, before the latter failed to read a Narine off-cutter and had his middle-stump knocked back. Karthik (33) and Kieron Pollard (2) knocked off the remaining runs as MI crossed the line in the final over.
T&T made a fight of the contest despite being one bowler short very early in the run-chase. The T&T skipper Denesh Ramdin was severely handicapped when medium-pacer Rayad Emrit dislocated his right shoulder while diving to stop a ball in the outfield. Narine was the pick of their bowlers, returning with outstanding figures of three for 17. Samuel Badree was tidy too, conceding only 25 runs in his four-over spell.
Earlier in the evening, MI skipper Rohit Sharma called correctly at the toss and put Trinidad & Tobago in to bat. The side from the Caribbean lost opener Lendl Simmons in the second over of the match, but came hard at their opponents almost immediately. Evin Lewis picked up three boundaries off Mitchell Johnson’s second over. Darren Bravo opened his account with a fluent cover drive off Harbhajan Singh and then hit one into the stands past long-on in the same over.
After that initial flurry, things slowed down as Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kieron Pollard conceded only 11 runs in the next three overs. The shackles were broken in the eighth over when Lewis hit Harbhajan Singh for two sixes down the ground – one of them just eluding the tall Pollard patrolling the long-off fence.
Pragyan Ojha was introduced into the attack in the ninth over and he struck immediately when he had Darren Bravo stumped down the leg-side; the southpaw made 14 from 16 balls and was involved in a 48-run partnership for the second wicket.
Lewis brought up his half-century with a square-cut that bisected the two fielders at point. T&T reached 73 for two at the half-way mark.
But with the ball losing its initial hardness and batsmen having to create pace on their own, stroke-making turned out to be difficult and runs were hard to come by. Lewis was dismissed in the 14th over when he was done in by extra bounce off the pitch and picked the man at short midwicket; the left-hander made 62 from 46 balls.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin cut Johnson to the point fence, before the bowler returned two balls later to send his off-stump cart-wheeling.
Yannick Ottley and Nicolas Pooran (15) gave the innings the surge it needed at the back end of the innings; the pair added 37 runs in 3.5 overs, before the latter holed out. The 22-year-old Ottley remained unbeaten on 41 (30 balls) as T&T finished their 20 overs at 153/5.
Coulter-Nile was magnificent for the Mumbai Indians; on a two-paced surface, the Australian bowled quick and maintained disciplined lines and lengths to finish with figures of one for 20 from his four overs. Pollard and Ojha finished with identical figures of one for 16 from their three overs, while Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson too chipped in with a wicket each.
Trivia: There were seven boundaries and four sixes in the first 10 overs of the T&T innings. In the remaining ten overs, the T&T batsmen managed to hit only three fours and four sixes.
15 of the 24 deliveries bowled by Nathan Coulter-Nile were clocked at least 140 kph.
When he scored his 25th run in this match, Tendulkar took his aggregate of runs in recognized cricket to 50,000.
Man of the Match: Dwayne Smith for his 59 off 38 balls