DURBAN: Mumbai Indians pulled off a sensational two runs win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a crucial Group B match here today but still got knocked out of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament on net run rate.
Although Mumbai registered their second victory in the tournament, the Sachin Tendulkar-led side will have to pack their bags and return home as Bangalore and Highveld Lions have a better net run rate with one match still to go.
Mumbai’s prospect has also been marred by South Australia Redbacks, which has already booked their place in the last four stage from Group B with three out of three wins.
Although Mumbai have fours points, they ended their campaign with a net run rate of +0.22, while Bangalore (+0.85) and Lions (+0.72) are in a better position with still a game to go.
Incidentally, the match between Bangalore and Lions have turned out to be a decider as whoever wins the encounter will progress to the semifinals along with Redbacks.
In today’s Indian Premier League derby, Rahul Dravid’s unbeaten 58-ball 71 and Virat Kohli’s 24-ball 47 went in vain, as chasing a competitive 166, Bangalore managed 163 for five in their alloted 20 overs, thereby falling short by two runs.
Needing 13 runs off last over, Kohli struck two fours off Zaheer Khan but in the end it was not enough to guide Bangalore home as he was caught in the final delivery by Ambati Rayudu.
Earlier, Bangalore produced a disciplined bowling performance upfront before Saurabh Tiwary and Dwyane Bravo stitched a quickfire 64-run sixth wicket stand to take Mumbai past the 150-mark.
In deep trouble, Tiwary (38 not out) and Bravo (29 off 23) came to Mumbai’s rescue with the 64-run stand after the Sachin Tendulkar-led side were down 84 for five at one stage.
The duo’s pyrotechnics helped Mumbai piled up 65 runs off the last five overs.
Tiwary hit three fours and a six in his 30-ball unbeaten stay while Bravo decorated his innings with three boundaries and two sixes.
For Mumbai opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with 41 off 37 balls which was studded with two fours and as many sixes.
Dale Steyn was the pick of the bowlers for Bangalore with figures of three for 26.
Chasing the competitive total, Bangalore started on a positive note with Dravid and Kallis picking up 40 runs of the first five overs.
Dravid was at his elegant best, picking up boundaries at ease with classical cricketing strokes while Kallis (15) complemented him well before debutant pacer Abu Nechim Ahmed caught the South African plumb in front of the wicket.
Bravo gave Mumbai more reasons to cheer in the next over when he had Robin Uthappa caught by Dhawan at deep square leg but not before the right-hander was dropped by JP Duminy in the previous delivery.
The two quick wickets stemmed the run flow and resulted in the downfall of another batsman.
Needing 95 off 10 overs, the pressure seemed to have crept up on Ross Taylor (9) as he went for a huge heave over midwicket only to give a skier to Ambati Rayudu behind the stumps off Bravo.
But Dravid was rock solid at the other hand as he brought up his fifty in 39 balls.
However with boundaries drying up, the pressure finally crept up on Bangalore batsmen as Cameron White departed cheaply, clean bowled by Harbhajan with a gem of an yorker.
With 40 needed of last three overs, Virat Kohli closed the gap with a huge six off Nechim’s first ball. But the right-arm pacer from Assam came back strongly to concede just six runs of the next five deliveries.
But just when it seemed that Bangalore were going out of the encounter, came in a brilliant Kohli who struck three consecutive fours off Lasith Malinga to reduce the equation to 13 off the last over.
Kohli nearly pulled off the match for Bangalore, but a a clever Zaheer spoiled his heroics as the Bangalore outfit eventually fell short by just two runs.
Earlier, sent into field Praveen Kumar gave a perfect start to the Bangalore innings with a maiden over.
However, it did not take much time for the Mumbai Indians to get off the grove as Tendulkar (11) opened the scoring with an elegant pull to the mid-wicket fence off R Vinay Kumar.
But the table turned around in the next two overs as Mumbai lost two crucial wickets within a span of four balls.
Tendulkar was the first to depart, nicking one to Robin Uthappa behind the stumps off Praveen and then Ambati Rayudu followed suit giving a regulation catch to Rahul Dravid at the first slip off Vinay Kumar in the next over.
Mumbai went into a shell and found runs hard to come by as Praveen and Vinay Kumar dished out a tight opening spell.
And to add to Mumbai’s agony, Jacques Kallis scripted countryman JP Duminy’s downfall in his first over, caught at long by Dale Steyn as the left-hander went for a big shot.
Dhawan hanged in there for 12 overs, scoring 41 off 37 balls before perishing in search of quick runs caught by Dravid at midwicket off Steyn.
If that was not enough, Anil Kumble’s shrewd tactics of introducing Steyn late into the attack paid off as the right-arm pacer spelled the doom of big fish Keiron Pollard , caught at extra cover by Ross Taylor.
For Mumbai Dwayne Bravo cut loose, hitting Kumble for back-to-back boundaries in the 15th over to somewhat up the tempo for the Tendulkar-led side.
Saurabh Tiwary followed his partner with a flat six off Steyn to finish off the 17th over in style.
And then Bravo launched an all out attack on Kumble with two sixes and as many fours, including a bye, to pick up 22 runs off the next over.
If that was not enough, Tiwary dispatched Steyn for consecutive fours to bring Mumbai closer to the 150-mark.
But Steyn got his man in the form of Bravo, who was caught inside the circle by Virat Kohli as the West Indian went for a huge heave.
Harbhajan Singh opened his account in style, with a boundary to the third man fence and then the feisty spinner hit Kallis for two fours the the final over.(PTI)