The threat from off-spinner Sunil Narine is always genuine in the shortest format of the game. Batsmen dont have the luxury of time to get their eye in against the unorthodox bowler and hence play with a certain element of risk. However,most teams work around Trinidad and Tobagos main threat by playing him out and attacking the others.
That is what Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith did by scoring three singles off Narines first over,the seventh of the Mumbai Indians innings. Smith hit two boundaries off medium-pacer Ravi Rampaul in the second over of Mumbais chase of 154,while Tendulkar hit left-arm spinner Yannick Ottley for two sixes,over long-on and deep extra cover in the sixth over of the innings. In these two particular overs,Mumbai had scored nine and sixteen runs respectively,their most productive in the early part of their innings to reach 49 for no loss by the end of the powerplay.
When Narines first over of the evening was played out safely,Smith and Tendulkar seemed to have put Mumbai on track to play the final against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.
However,after medium-pacer Lendl Simmons got Tendulkar to chase a short and wide ball outside the off stump and get a thick edge that wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin didnt spill off the last ball of the 11th over,Narine was re-introduced into the attack. Immediately he left his mark on the game. Two wickets in five balls brought about a mini-slump in the Mumbai innings,and Narine had another two overs to go.
Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik were new at the crease and another wicket at this point could have brought Trinidad and Tobago right back into the game. Karthik and Sharma added another 42 runs for the fourth wicket to take Mumbai Indians within sixteen runs of a victory before Narine struck again. Sharma and Karthik had played out Narines third over safely while attacking the other bowlers. But Narine still had a final trick up his sleeve. The faster ball pitched and spun away from Sharmas angled bat and crashed into the stumps. By then though Narine had only two more deliveries to go.
Kieron Pollard and Karthik were at the wicket as Mumbai won with six wickets and five balls to spare to enter their second Champions League T20 final in three years. Narines figures of 3 for 17 stood out but the rest of the T&T bowlers were fighting a losing battle after the quick opening partnership between Smith and Tendulkar worth 90 in 11 overs.
Evin Lewis,the 21-year-old opener,had got Trinidad and Tobago going with an innings that was marked by his off-side play,especially through the arc between cover and backward point. Lewis made 62 off 46,but wasnt fluent in the latter part of the innings once the Mumbai Indians bowlers stopped giving him width. Ottley made an unbeaten 41 off 30 at No.4 but a total of 153 was too small to defend,in spite of Narines best efforts,against a Mumbai line-up of gifted hitters.
Briefscores: T&T 153/5 (E Lewis 62,K Ottley 41*; K Pollard 1/16) lost to MI 157/4 in 19.1 overs (D Smith 59,S Narine 3/17)