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Sharma gives finishing touch

Sharma gives finishing touch

Hits two sixes,including one off the last ball,as Mumbai knock off the 18 required in final over

At the end of Amit Mishra’s final over,the 18th,one where Rohit Sharma clobbered him for two big sixes to get to his fifty and then well past,Deccan Chargers skipper Kumar Sangakkara was a man of choices. The opposition,the Mumbai Indians,needed a stiff 23 runs from the last two overs,and Sangakkara had both Dale Steyn and Dan Christian left at his disposal.

However,the big question was,who would Sangakkara keep for the final over? As Rohit would tell you,the Sri Lankan made the wrong choice,and Mumbai pulled off an improbable victory — the tightest match of the fifth edition so far.

Until then,in the three overs that Steyn had bowled in the innings,the South African pacer had handicapped the Mumbai batting line-up by dismissing the openers — T Suman and Richard Levi — before going to work on the team’s wobbly crutches. Christian,on the other hand,had been quite expensive,but somehow claimed the dangerous Kieron Pollard,just when he was threatening to get off the hook.

Sangakkara chose to cripple the chase to a limp by bowling Steyn in the penultimate over,hoping that Christian would have enough runs to play with before bowling the final over. Steyn kept his end of the deal,conceding just five runs and dynamiting Dinesh Karthik’s stumps. But despite having 18 runs to defend in the last six balls,Rohit ensured that Christian would finish as the biggest villain of the day on home soil. But first,he had to get himself the strike. And that wouldn’t happen until half way through the last over.


Having taken a single on the final ball of Steyn’s over,new man James Franklin retained the strike,with Mumbai requiring three runs off every ball. The Kiwi kept abreast by stroking Christian for a first ball boundary,but with just three more runs from the next two deliveries,Mumbai were all but out of it — needing 11 runs from three balls. Then Christian bowled the first of his two finishing full-tosses,a wayward one that Rohit carved over the backward point ropes.

Christian made amends by hitting a better line and length next ball. The back of a length snarler was stroked to long-off. While it nearly cost Rohit his wicket to turn back for the second,the perfectly timed dive reduced the target to three off one,but more importantly,kept Rohit on strike for the last delivery of the game. Rohit would later say that it was the dive that saved them the match,but he was perhaps being kind to Christian. For the Aussie all-rounder finished off by bowling another full-toss, low and in the slot,and the result was the same — powelled into the long-on stands.

Rohit finished with an unbeaten 73,with five sixes aiding the rearguard innings brilliantly. It was a feat well recognised by the Mumbai camp,who stormed the field after the final hit,but especially by one Munaf Patel,who had done amazingly well to restrict the hosts to 138 in the first innings — with four of the top five wickets. But just when the bowlers were having a bigger say in this game and format,Rohit decided to reverse the trend with a T20 junkie’s dream.

Not out & out

There was a touch of controversy in the match when Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara was ruled not out off the bowling of Munaf Patel before skipper Harbhajan Singh convinced the umpires to refer the decision to the third umpire,who reversed the decision. The third ball of Munaf Patel’s third over saw Sangakkara dragging the ball onto the off-stump. But the ball hit the wickets for the second time after ricocheting off Mumbai wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik and this seemed to have left the umpires certain that Sangakkara wasn’t bowled.