Saturday 5 October 2013 

CLT20: Mumbai Through To Final Despite Narine

Dwayne Smith raises his bat
Dwayne Smith was named man of the match for his 59.
© Action Images / Ed Sykes Livepic
 

Mumbai Indians 157-4 (Smith 59) beat
Trinidad & Tobago 153-5 by 6 wickets
Champions League T20, Second Semi-Final, Delhi

Mumbai Indians will play Rajasthan Royals in the Champions League T20 final after overcoming a Sunil Narine-inspired Trinidad & Tobago in Delhi.

Trinidad & Tobago were dealt an early blow in their effort to defend their total of 153 for five - of which Evin Lewis made 62 - when Rayad Emrit dived awkwardly in the field and dislocated his right shoulder. From then on, it was a case of Narine versus Mumbai.

Narine looked like taking a wicket with almost every ball that he bowled but the contrast with the other bowlers couldn’t have been more stark. They were, at best, innocuous and, at worst, downright poor and allowed Mumbai the luxury of not having to try too hard against Narine; safe in the knowledge that runs would flow at the other end.

Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar began the Mumbai run chase in solid fashion, with the former, as has been the norm during this tournament, taking the lead initially. In fact, Tendulkar looked all at sea early on, but soon found his range; one lofted six over cover off Yannick Ottley was simply sublime. During the course of his innings, he passed the landmark of 50,000 runs across the three formats and was cheered by the partisan crowd with every ball that he faced.

Smith was all brute force at the other end and smashed his way to fifty for the second time in the tournament. When he and Tendulkar were going strong during their opening stand of 90, it appeared that the run chase would be a cakewalk.

However, Tendulkar feathered the medium-pace of Lendl Simmons through to Denesh Ramdin to spark a mini-collapse of three for six that brought the match alive. Narine struck twice in his second over, inducing Ambati Rayudu into a poor stroke first ball and then almost having Smith caught at slip before having him bowled going for an ungainly slog-sweep the following delivery. That made it 96 for three.

Rohit Sharma survived a close shout for LBW first ball from Narine, but began to build a partnership with Dinesh Karthik. The two played nicely, with Sharma at his pleasing best, before Narine struck once again, with a leg-cutter that had Sharma completely bamboozled, playing for an off-break.

Narine was truly at his best and appeared to be playing at different game to the rest of his colleagues. Unfortunately, whenever he delivered a testing over, the Mumbai batsmen would respond by plundering the following over from the hapless bowler at the other end. Ultimately, that was the problem: Narine couldn’t do it all on his own and Mumbai won with five balls to spare.

The match had started with Lendl Simmons departing in Harbhajan Singh’s opening over. However, Evin Lewis - a relative unknown coming into this tournament - took his run tally to 211 from five games during a powerful knock of 62 off 46 balls.

He shared 48 with Darren Bravo for the second-wicket and 32 with Ottley for the third before being caught and bowled by his sometime Trinidad & Tobago team-mate Kieron Pollard. Pollard was arguably the pick of the Mumbai attack and found conditions to his liking, returning figures of one for 16 from three overs.

Ottley was the man responsible for the other contribution of note from a Trinidad & Tobago batsman. He made 41 off only 30 balls and looks a useful cricketer; his left-arm spin looking by no means shoddy despite the fact that it would be dispatched for 38 runs by the Mumbai batsmen later in the evening.

© Cricket World 2013