Mumbai prevail in another thriller

Mumbai prevail in another thriller

Cricket Champions League T20

Mumbai prevail in another thriller

Mumbai Indians players and support staff celebrate their win over Trinidad and Tobago in their Champions League Twenty20 cricket match in Bangalore, India, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. Mumbai Indians won by one wicket. AP Photo

It was a game littered with mistakes, some triggered by the heat of battle and others downright school-boyish. In the end, the side that perhaps made just one mistake fewer came out trumps in the most extraordinary T20 game at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Monday.

Their second last-over win in three nights, this time off the last ball of the match and by the narrowest margin imaginable – one wicket – catapulted Mumbai Indians to the top of Group A as they overcame a brave challenge from Trinidad & Tobago in the Champions League.

Daren Ganga’s men looked a gift horse in the mouth, contriving to fritter away a promising start of 57 for two in the seventh over to be bowled out for 98 with 22 deliveries left unutilised. It ought to have been a walk in the park for the Indians, but they found ways and means of courting disaster until the unheralded Yuzvendra Chahal scrambled the two required off the last delivery — Denesh Ramdin missed a flick at the stumps that would have pushed the game into the Super Over — to trigger wild jubilation in one dug-out, and total despondency in the other.

Having lost Davy Jacobs before a ball had been bowled, the Indians had lost four for 16 early in the sixth over, man of the match Ravi Rampaul keeping his great run going after leggie Sunil Badree had evicted Aiden Blizzard. The lack of match-time of the Indians’ middle-order clearly showed as they caved in meekly, best exemplified by the travails of T&T’s very own Kieron Pollard during a 10-ball nine.

 Pollard could have been dismissed first ball — either caught at mid-on or run out — and survived another half-chance on six but failed to make good fortune count, dismissed by ultra-impressive off-spinner Sunil Narine to push the Indians to 33 for five. That left them needing 66 in 69 deliveries, which is when Ambati Rayudu and Rajagopal Sathish orchestrated a sensible rescue act.

 Based on common sense rather than flamboyance, the duo added 32 (43b) but the Indians still needed 25 off the last three when skipper Harbhajan Singh was run out. Rampaul bowled an exceptional 19th over, conceding just four, so that Sherwin Ganga had to defend 11 off the last.

One monster six by Lasith Malinga was followed by the run outs in successive deliveries of Malinga and Rayudu. It came down to two off Chahal’s only delivery faced, a soft bunt to mid-wicket and an optimistic second bearing fruit as Ramdin lost his nerve.

T&T had started promisingly through Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath, coming hard at Malinga in the first over. Barath was finally bowled by a slower yorker from the same bowler but no other batsman can claim to have been outwitted by the opposition.

Simmons’ tardy running as he tried to jump into the crease with the bat held in the air triggered an extraordinary sequence of wickets. Skipper Ganga holed out in the deep to James Franklin and suddenly Harbhajan took over, having Ramdin caught and bowled and dismissing the classy, dangerous looking Darren Bravo in quick succession.

T&T continued to find ways to self-destruct, poor shot selection proving their undoing. Abu Nechim polished off the innings by having Narine superbly caught at third-man by Chahal; interesting, then, that both Nechim and Chahal should be involved in the final-ball brace that helped the Indians scrape through.