West Indian opener Dwayne Smith stroked an unbeaten 63 off 47 balls to guide Mumbai Indians to a seven-wicket win over Highveld Lions in a group A game of the Champions League T20 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Friday.
In a must-win fixture for both teams, following a washed out game and a defeat each, the IPL champions did what the South African champions failed to do – work the ball around on a green and bouncy pitch.
Mumbai pocketed four points after a disciplined effort with the ball earlier had restricted Lions to 140 for five. Kieron Pollard came in and blasted three sixes en route to a 20-ball 31 while sharing an unfinished fourth-wicket stand of 51 in 35 balls. Smith moved the ball around amidst a few belligerent shots to keep Mumbai in the hunt, taking a special liking for Lonwabo Tsotsobe and leg-spinner Imran Tahir, ending up with three sixes and four fours.
Sachin Tendulkar, needing 31 to become the first Indian to reach 50,000 runs in recognised cricket, fell for five after being foxed by a fuller, slower Sohail Tanvir delivery. The innings received the push it required when Smith lifted Tsotsobe for two straight sixes.
Skipper Rohit Sharma kept the scoreboard ticking until he almost went head to head with Hardus Viljoen after edging a rising ball past the slips for four. Umpire Anil Chaudhary had to step in as the duo exchanged a few words.
With 36 required from four overs, Smith responded by depositing Viljoen over long-on and then saw his defensive push off an attempted yorker go past mid-off even as the fielder lost track of the ball for a brief second.
After Rohit won the toss, Mumbai didn’t get too many wickets early on but medium pacer Rishi Dhawan and Harbhajan Singh, didn’t allow the Lions to get away. The top four batsmen got starts, but failed to keep the scoreboard moving and ended up falling to the pressure. The spinners did a superb job, save Pragyan Ojha’s third over which went for 15. But he had taken a couple of wickets, while Bhajji accounted for Quinton de Kock with a doosra.
For the second match running, skipper Petersen was left to do too much as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. It was the 59-run stand for the sixth-wicket between Petersen and Pretorius that gave the Lions something to play with.
Highveld Lions: Van der Dussen c Dhawan b Johnson 13, De Kock lbw Harbhajan 19, McKenzie b Dhawan 15, Symes b Ojha 14, Petersen (not out) 35, Tanvir c Smith b Ojha 2, Pretorius (not out) 31, Extras (lb-4, w-7) 11, Total (5 wickets; 20 overs) 140.
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-41 3-62 4-71 5-81.
Bowling: Johnson 4-0-33-1, Coulter-Nile 4-0-25-0, Dhawan 4-1-21-1, Harbhajan 4-0-19-1, Ojha 3-0-26-2, Pollard 1-0-12-0.
Mumbai Indians: Smith (not out) 63, Tendulkar b Tanvir 5, Karthik c Petersen b Tahir 13, Rohit c sub b Pretorius 20, Pollard (not out) 31, Extras (lb-6, w-3) 9 , Total (3 wickets; 18.3 overs) 141,
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-47, 3-90. Bowling: Tanvir 3.3-0-15-1, Tsotsobe 3-0-25-0, Viljoen 4-0-36-0, Tahir 4-0-23-1, Phangiso 1-0-10-0, Pretorius 3-0-26-1.