Monday, February 26, 2024

Dwayne Smith wins last-ball thriller for MI

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Mumbai: Dwayne Smith emerged as an unlikely hero for Mumbai Indians as he smashed a six and two fours off the last three balls to secure a sensational two-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League match, here on Sunday.

Chasing 174, Mumbai needed 16 runs off the last over, bowled by pacer Bel Hilfenhaus, and equation became 14 off the last three balls as the Australian castled Lasith Malinga off the second ball and conceded one run in the next ball.

Smith hit a towering six over long-on in the fourth ball and reeled off two conseutive fours to snatch the win for the hosts in a match, in which fortunes fluctuated like a pendulum.

Sachin Tendulkar (74) slammed his first half-century of the season and shared a 126-run stand with Rohit Sharma (60) to lay the foundation for the win but regular strikes brought Chennai back in the match.

Chennai had put up a challenging 173 for eight after being invited to bat as their top and middle-order batsmen batted superbly with Murali Vijay top-scoring with his 41.

Mumbai were handsomely placed at 144 for one in the 16th over before Chennai stormed back in splendid style to reduce the home team to 159 for 8 with four balls left.

The wicket of Tendulkar, who struck 11 fours and a six in his excellent innings, triggered the collapse as seven wickets fell for just 15 runs which almost put Mumbai on the brink of defeat.

West Indian Smith pulled it around with his splendid, unbeaten 24 in 9 balls, that included 2 sixes and as many fours.

Tendulkar and Rohit’s partnership had virtually looked to have sealed Chennai’s fate on a splendid batting track before the sensational collapse.

The duo had cut to size the Chennai attack that looked clueless on how to stop the rampaging second wicket pair. Rohit hit eight boundaries, including two sixes.

Tendulkar departed in the 16th over, caught brilliantly at short extra cover by Francois du Plessis off R Ashwin when 30 runs were needed and what appeared to be a comfortable task became difficult with a spate of wickets including that of Rohit in the 18th over.

The mayhem began when Dwayne Bravo castled Dinesh karthik (11) and Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in the 18th over to remove Ambati Rayudu (0) and Rohit.

In the end their third straight victory boosted Mumbai’s tally to 14 and placed them one point adrift of second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.

Earlier, Chennai were given a flying start by a struggling Vijay, who made a quick-fire 41 in 29 balls with four fours and three sixes, and the in-form Plessis (9). The duo put on 47 in 32 balls before falling in quick succession.

Suresh Raina, who made a belligerent 21-ball 36 with three fours and two sixes, and Bravo (40 off 33 balls) built on the fine foundation in the middle overs. Later Bravoand skipper MS Dhoni added a breezy 44 runs in 22 balls.

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