Harjit Mehat | cricket20
James Franklin stunned the Kolkata Knight Riders by scoring 15 runs from the final over of the game to seal an unbelievable victory for the Mumbai Indians who secured a dramatic 5 wicket win.
The Indians needed 21 runs from the final over and Franklin duly delivered, dispatching Lakshmipathy Balaji for four consecutive boundaries to set up a tense final delivery which Ambati Rayudu smashed over deep square leg for a six.
The victory amazingly denied the Knight Riders second place in the group standings and a place in the t20 Champions League which instead goes to the Chennai Super Kings who will now face the Royal Challengers in the first play off next Tuesday.
The Indians and Knight Riders will now meet once again on Wednesday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in the 3rd and 4th place eliminator; the winner of which will then face the loser of the first play off match on Friday at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Faced with a run chase of 176; the Indians never really trouble the Knight Riders until Franklin’s heroics at the end of the innings as he turned the game around in the space of 5 overs as he smashed 45 runs from just 23 balls.
Sachin Tendulkar got the innings off to a good start, scoring 38 runs at the top opf the innings before he was dismissed by the impressive Rajat Bhatia who picked up three wickets to help the Knight Riders seemingly into a winning position.
Harbhajan Singh (30) and Kieron Pollard (18) both got off to good starts to leave the Indians looking down and out until Franklins match winning innings.
Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan got the day off to a bright start for the Knight Riders helping them to reach 175-7. The pair came together in the 9th over and proceeded to build a vital 4th wicket stand of 57 to put the home side in control.
Kallis (59) lead the way, recording his 4th half century in this year’s tournament before he was dismissed by James Franklin in the 18th over after the South African had dispatched the Kiwi’s first two deliveries for 12 runs.
Pathan offered great support with a quick fire 36 before Ryan ten Doeschate (18) and Rajat Bhatia (11) help the Knight Riders set the Indians a run chase of 176.
The Indians, who need to win by a large margin in order to leap frog above the Chennai Super Kings into second place started the brighter but they were foiled by Kallis and Pathan in front of fall house in Eden Gardens.
The Knight Riders got off to a disappointing start losing Shreevats Goswami (1) and Gautam Gambhir (8) inside the opening 4 overs as the Indians started the match the stronger of the two teams.
Goswami was the first to go in the 2nd over when he was run out after Jacques Kallis called for a quick single which left the batsman stranded in the middle of the wicket when Ambati Rayudu took the bails off.
Gambhir quickly followed two overs later after he was bowled by Abu Ahmed who struck back after conceding a six off his first delivery of the 4th over to leave the Knight Riders 22-2.
Despite the early setbacks the Knight Riders remained calm as Kallis and Manoj Tiwary built a vital 3rd wicket stand of 45 which tipped the balance in favour of the home side even though Tiwary’s (35) innings was ended by another run out in the 9th over.