Mumbai Indians kept their hopes of qualifying for next week's Champions League Twenty20 knock-out stages alive with a commanding seven-wicket victory over Highveld Lions.
Mumbai Indians kept their hopes of qualifying for next week's Champions League Twenty20 knock-out stages alive with a commanding seven-wicket victory over Highveld Lions, thanks to an unbeaten half-century from opener Dwayne Smith.
The all-rounder played a typically swashbuckling, boundary-filled innings and put on an unbeaten fourth wicket stand of fifty-one with fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard as the IPL champions strolled to their target of 141 with nine balls to spare, and in the process essentially ending the Lions' semi-final ambitions.
Earlier, a fine bowling display by the Indians' star-studded attack restricted the Lions to a modest total after the do-or-die Group A clash was delayed due to a floodlight failure.
However, Mumbai weren't going to allow the lights to go out on their campaign as they produced a commanding performance to move within two points of the top of the standings.
Smith remained unbeaten and saw his side over the line after a fiery 47-ball 63 that included three sixes, while the equally destructive Pollard entertained the crowd with a quick-fire 32 as the Indians recorded their maiden win of the campaign.
Their run chase didn't get off to a confident start, however, as Sachin Tendulkar (5) had his stumps re-arranged by an inswinging ball from Sohail Tanvir. That was as good as it got for the Lions, who found themselves on the back-foot from the get go.
Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma opted to bowl first on a green tinged surface and his seamers took advantage of the favourable seaming conditions in Jaipur before the spinners, Harbhajan Singh in particular, came to the fore to prevent the Lions gaining any sort of momentum in order to post a challenging total.
While their total of 140 for five was considerably below-par, they were lifted substantially by a fine innings by captain Alviro Petersen as well as some late order hitting by Dwaine Pretorius. The pair put on an unbeaten stand of 59 to resurrect the Lions' stumbling innings.
Earlier, Rassie van der Dussen (13) had looked to get his side off to a positive start but was beaten for pace as he pulled the speedy if wayward Mitchell Johnson straight to square-leg before Harbhajan struck immediately in his first over.
The out-of-favour off-spinner trapped Quinton de Kock (19) lbw in the seventh over before veteran Neil McKenzie, on his return to the side, was outgunned by a perfect in-swinger by Dhawan.
Jean Symes attempted to install some much needed momentum to the innings but after lifting Pragyan Ojha into the stands, the batsman was on his way back to the pavilion shortly after before the spinner picked up his second wicket as Tanvir could only pick out Smith on the mid-wicket boundary.
The decision to promote the Pakistani bowler in search of some lusty blows didn't pay-off but that only provided the platform for Petersen (35) and Pretorius (31) to lift their side towards a respectable total.
The duo started slowly but opened up as the innings progressed and notched up their 50-run stand in just 33 balls. However, their efforts were in vain as the Indians strolled to a much-needed victory in the 19th over.
Lions: Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Alviro Petersen, Neil McKenzie, Jean Symes, Dwaine Pretorius, Sohail Tanvir, Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Imran Tahir
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Harbhajan Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha
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