Harjit Mehat | cricket20
The Mumbai Indians nervously edged towards a 4 wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders to claim a place in the t20 Champions League and set up an elimination clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.
The Indians will meet Daniel Vettori’s side on Friday night at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai; the winner will earn the right to face the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL final on Saturday.
Having collapsed in spectacular fashion at Eden gardens on Sunday night against the Indians, the Knight Riders crashed out of the tournament thanks to another disappointing performance when it really mattered.
With the tension building James Franklin (29) was once again the hero for the Indians, sharing a 7th wicket stand of 15 with Harbhajan Singh (6) to seal victory with just 4 balls to spare.
Having been put into bat the Knight Riders top order collapsed in spectacular fashion and despite Ryan ten Doeschate (70) nest effort the Indians were left chasing a below par total of 148.
The Dutchman smashed 6 boundaries and 3 sixes during his innings as he single handily kept the Knight Riders in the game, helping them reach 147-7.
Having restricted the Knight Riders, the Indians made no mistakes during their run chase thanks to Aiden Blizzard and Sachin Tendulkar who shared an opening stand of 81.
Blizzard led the way, smashing 7 boundaries and 2 sixes to record the fastest half century for the Indians this year from just 29 deliveries to give the Indians the perfect start.
Having brought up his 50 with a massive six off the bowling of Brett Lee, the young Aussie was dismissed from the very next delivery when he picked out Iqbal Abdulla at deep point.
Rohit Sharma quickly followed after he run himself out without facing a delivery before the Knight Riders took the vital wicket of Tendulkar in the 11th over after the Indians skipper was caught by Manoj Tiwary after he attempted to pull Jaques Kallis.
The Knight Riders continued to pressure the Indians as they slowly fought their way back into the game as the tension started to mount after Ambati Rayudu was adjudged to have edged a delivery from Kallis through to Shreevats Goswami in the 13th over.
Having watched on as Kallis and Goswami celebrated, Rayudu was stunned when umpire Asad Rauf put his finger in the air despite there being no visible contact with the ball, with Rayudu back in the dug out the TV replays confirmed the never touched the ball.
The Knight Riders were given further help two overs later when Simon Taufel gave Kieron Pollard (3) out LBW, after the West Indian was hit on the pads from a delivery by Shakib Al Hasan.
Tirumalasetti Suman (2) quickly followed to set up a tense finish with the Indians needing 15 runs from the final 12 deliveries.
The Knight Riders lost 4 wickets inside the opening 6 overs before ten Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan slowed the Indians charge down with a vital 5th wicket stand of 60.
The two batsmen led the Knight Riders recovery before Pathan (26) was dismissed by the impressive Munaf Patel (27-3) at the end of the 13 over when he was caught by Kieron Pollard out on the long on boundary.
Despite the loss Shakib Al Hasan came to the crease and dispatched Dhawal Kulkarni for three consecutive boundaries at the start of the 15th over to give the Knight Riders fresh hope.
The pair went on to build a 6th wicket partnership of 41 to help the Knight Riders reach 122-5 before Al Hasan (26) was bowled by Lasith Malinga at the start of the 18th over.
Rajat Bhatia (2) quickly followed before ten Doeschate and Brett Lee (2) added 16 runs from the renaming 10 balls during an 8th wicket partnership to help the Knight Riders reach 147-7.
The game got off to a tense start thanks to some tight bowling from Dhawal Kulkarni who conceded just 3 runs from the opening over to put the pressure on the batsman straight away.
With so much riding on the game the Knight Riders needed to get off to a positive start but their hopes were blown away in the space of 5 overs as their top order collapsed is spectacular fashion.
Jacques Kallis (7) was the first to go; having scored the first boundary of the match the South African sliced Munaf Patel’s next delivery towards Tendulkar who pulled off a diving catch at mid off to give the Indians the early break through.
Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir (4) quickly followed after he was bowled by Harbhajan Singh in the 3rd over after he tried to slog sweep a length ball which went on to hit Gambhir’s off stump.
With the pressure mounting Shreevats Goswami (0) easily buckled after he attempted an ugly slog off the bowling of Patel in the 4th over which he edged through to Ambati Rayudu to leave the Knight Riders 15-3.
Tiwary (4) soon followed when he was trapped LBW by Dhawal Kulkarni to complete a miserable start for the Knight Riders after they had been out into bat by Tendulkar.