Mumbai Indians will play Chennai Super Kings in Sunday's Indian Premier League 2013 final after they scored a four-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals with one ball to spare in the final qualifier in Kolkata.
In a match that ebbed and flowed throughout, Rajasthan Royals posted 165 for six and needing eight to win from the final over, Harbhajan Singh hit the penultimate ball for six to secure Mumbai's first final appearance since 2010.
Dwayne Smith had set Mumbai on their way with 62 before Rajasthan launched a fightback, although one that was ultimately foiled by Mumbai.
Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to bat first, as Mumbai Indians are prone to be nervous in chasing. The Eden Gardens pitch didn't seem as slow as it was during the league stage, even though the ball wasn’t coming to the bat as easily.
Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane (21) put on 44 runs for the first wicket, in 39 balls, before the latter was bowled round his legs by Harbhajan Singh (3-23). The off-spinner was on song for Mumbai as he proved to be their best bowler, accounting for Rajasthan’s entire top order.
He sent back Shane Watson (6) cheaply, while Sanju Samson (0) was dismissed by Lasith Malinga (1-43). At the other end Dravid kept on going, even as wickets fell around him, driving Rajasthan to a platform to push from. He top scored with 43 off 37 balls, including seven fours, and falling to Harbhajan Singh in the 13th over.
The score read 87 for four at that stage and Stuart Binny started hitting out. He scored 27 off 17 balls, with three fours and one six, but the Royals were again set back to 108 for six, this time by a double strike by Kieron Pollard (2-6).
It was again left to Brad Hodge (19 off 20 balls, two fours) to do the finishing but he was left a spectator by Dishant Yagnik who smacked 31 runs off just 17 balls, including five fours, to help Rajasthan finish at 165 for six. The pair put on 57 runs in the last five overs to present a challengeable total to Mumbai Indians.
Again missing Sachin Tendulkar at the top, Mumbai needed a solid start and they weren’t disappointed. Smith carried on from where he left off in Delhi, striking another half-century.
But the difference was in the partnership he was able to put on with Aditya Tare, who scored 35 runs off 27 balls, with three fours and two sixes. They put on 70 runs in 55 balls, before Kevon Cooper (2-33) got the breakthrough. He also dismissed in-form Dinesh Karthik (22) as Mumbai now started losing wickets regularly.
Rohit Sharma (2) couldn’t get a start, bowled by Siddharth Trivedi (1-23) and James Faulkner (1-36) removed danger man Kieron Pollard as the chase became tense.
It turned in Rajasthan’s favour when Smith was dismissed by Stuart Binny (1-11). Shane Watson (1-34) then bowled Ambati Rayudu (17) and it was left to Harbhajan and Rishi Dhawan, who took Mumbai home, Dhawan hitting his first ball for four and Harbhajan hammering Watson over cover for a the winning runs.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.