Sunday 6 October 2013 

CLT20: Mumbai Win Denies Dravid Perfect Send-Off

Harbhajan Singh Mumbai Indians
Harbhajan Singh tookthree wickets in the 17th over to derail Rajasthan's challenge
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Mumbai Indians 202-6 (Smith 44) beat
Rajasthan Royals 169 by 33 runs
Champions League T20 final, Delhi

Rahul Dravid's final game of professional cricket ended with the wrong result for him as the Mumbai Indians beat the Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs to win the 2013 Champions League Twenty20.

A stunning late assault with the bat, led by Glenn Maxwell, helped Mumbai post 202 for six with Sachin Tendulkar falling for 15 in his final match of Twenty20 cricket.

Although Rajasthan made a brave bid to chase down an imposing target, Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson hitting half-centuries but their task proved beyond them.

The Royals lost their last eight wickets - including that of Dravid, bowled for one - for just 32 runs as Harbhajan Singh and Kieron Pollard both took three wickets in single overs and they were bowled out for 169 in the 18th over.

Mumbai Indians become the second team after Chennai Super Kings to win the Champions League and the Indian Premier League in the same season but the first team to win this title for the second time.

Given how strongly Mumbai finished their innings, by scoring 142 runs in the last 10 overs, it might come as a surprise that they managed just 20 runs between overs five and 10 as they struggled to make the best of a good start.

Dwayne Smith (44 in 39 balls) and Tendulkar (15) had got them off to a flyer but the innings slowed down after Tendulkar followed up two fine boundaries by missing a Shane Watson inswinger and losing his off stump. Ambati Rayudu was unable to keep up the hitting, and laboured early on, but after they had limped to 60 for one in 10 overs, Smith stepped on the gas with three fours in as many balls off Watson.

Then Dravid turned to Pravin Tambe. The oldest man on the park had Smith bowled but Rohit Sharma  hit his third ball for six and Rayudu finally found some touch with a couple of stright boundaries. He too would fall to Tambe, who dragged his length back and got one through Rayudu's defences. He had made 29 in 24 balls and Tambe finished with two for 19.

Pollard took a few balls to get going but then slammed Kevon Cooper for six over long-on, a shot repeated by Sharma two balls later as the Mumbai Indians juggernaut began to shift through the gears, the 16th over going for 20 runs even though Pollard had fallen for 15 when he was cramped for room and bowled by James Faulkner.

In came Maxwell and effortlessly flicked his first two balls for a six and a four over fine leg. After Sharma was caught in the deep for a superb 33 in 14 balls, an innings of power, invention and subtlety, both Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik (15 not out in 5) hit straight sixes as Faulkner leaked 18 in the penultimate over.

Maxwell (37 in 14) selflessly ran himself out in the final over as he tried to pinch a second run to Tambe at third man but Harbhajan launching his first ball into the stands ensured that the 200 came up.

He ended up unbeaten on seven in two balls.

Fresh from his batting, Maxwell opened the bowling and Dravid dropped down the order to allow Kushal Perera and Rahane to open. Perera hit the first boundary of the innings through cover and then edged another through third man, only to run himself out soon after. Two steps forward, one step back.

Samson and Rahane quickly put Rajasthan back on top. Samson struck two early sixes and Rahane joined in with another at the end of the fourth over. The fifth then went for 17 as Samson flat-batted Nathan Coulter-Nile for a straight six, cover drove another four and then top-edged another maximum.

Not allowing any pressure to build up, Rahane followed up a couple of dot balls delivered by Pragyan Ojha by clearing his front leg and launching the left-armer into the midwicket stands to end the Power Play on 71 for one.

Samson hit another six off Ojha in the eighth over and then brought up his half-century in just 21 balls as Ojha fumbled the ball over the boundary, also helping Rajasthan reach their 100 after nine overs. Ojha made some amends by letting just five runs off the next over he bowled and almost pulled off a diving caught and bowled to remove Rahane but the ball was just out of his reach.

It began to look like things were turning in Rajasthan's favour. After that narrow miss, Rahane lofted one just short of a fielder in the deep and when Samson put on high in the air, Maxwell dropped it, seemingly distracted by Harbhajan also making an attempt before pulling out. The misses meant that the batsmen had put on a 60-ball century partnership and were allowed to continue on their way, Rahane flicking the ball after the drop for four.

However, Samson then gave Harbhajan the chance to make amends and he did so, holding on to a catch at backward point off Ojha that saw the youngster on his way for 60 in 33 balls and Ojha ended an impressive spell with figures of one for 26 in his four overs.

Rahane then made history, becoming the first man to score four half-centuries in one Champions League tournament when he drilled Harbhajan through the covers but Mumbai were putting the squeeze on Rajasthan and the runs weren't flowing as quickly as they had been.

Watson (8) put Pollard into the stand at midwicket as 12 runs came off the 14th over but trying the same trick off Harbhajan Singh he got the height but not the distance and this time with Pollard underneath it, there was no mistake.

Rajasthan needed 62 to win with five overs to spare, with Rahane and Stuart Binny at the crease and Dravid, Dinesh Yagnik, Faulkner and Cooper still to come.

Stuart Binny hit his fourth ball for six and Rahane also found the boundary as Rishi Dhawan went for 14 runs to leave Rajasthan needing 48 to win in 24 balls. Needing something to happen, Sharma turned to Harbhajan and got exactly what he wanted when Rahane flicked a full ball into the hands of Smith at midwicket, the opener on his way for an excellent 65 in 47 balls and the game was turned on its head again.

As Binny's attempts to hit Harbhajan became more and more desperate, he lost his leg stump from the fourth ball of the over, although Cooper hit the next, his first, for four, only to find himself stumped from the final delivery.

Three wickets for four runs. Harbhajan has seldom bowled a more pivotal over - at least not in Twenty20 cricket.

Dravid's final innings saw him pick up a single before he was bowled by Coulter-Nile, leaving to a standing ovation after shaking hands with the Mumbai players.

After that, it really was all over for the Royals, and Pollard brought about a swift end with the wickets of Yagnik (6), Rajiv Shukla (0) and Tambe (0), emulating Harbhajan's earlier feat of taking three wickets in one over.

Harbhajan finished with four for 32 and Pollard three for 31.

For 36 overs, this was a real contest and either side could have won before Mumbai wrested control at the end to ensure that it was Tendulkar, and not Dravid, who was celebrating on his farewell to Twenty20 cricket.

© Cricket World 2013