Mumbai trump Rajasthan to take CLT20 title

India

A composite performance with the bat and spinner Harbhajan Singh's four telling wickets carried the Mumbai Indians to a 33-run triumph over the Rajasthan Royals in Sunday's Champions League Twenty20 final at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

A composite performance with the bat and spinner Harbhajan Singh's four telling wickets carried the Mumbai Indians to a 33-run triumph over the Rajasthan Royals in Sunday's Champions League Twenty20 final at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

The occasion was marked by veteran duo Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar's final appearances for Rajasthan and Mumbai respectively, with each afforded a guard of honour in front of appreciative team-mates – and a jampacked Delhi crowd.

The convincing result capped a very successful season for Mumbai, who earlier this year won the Indian Premier League. This month's success was all the more impressive, after instrumental fast bowler Lasith Malinga was sidelined for the entire tournament by injury.

Rajasthan, meanwhile, were left to lament an opportunity entirely lost. Quickfire half-centuries from batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson had promised so much, only for all of seven wickets across a mere 10 runs to undo all ambition.

Royals skipper Rahul Dravid's choice to bowl first after winning the toss never enjoyed momentum, despite wickets at reasonably regular intervals. While not one Mumbai's order managed to score more than opener Dwayne Smith's 44, each of the top seven contributed a cameo sufficient for a formidable final total of 202 for six.

Australian recruit Glenn Maxwell's cavalier 37, which featured a quartet of fours and twin sixes and spanned a mere 14 deliveries, was particularly outstanding – after the all-rounder was selected ahead of seamer Mitchell Johnson.

Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, true to form, was the pick of the Royals bowlers – fruitful and ecomomical en route to figures of two for 19 in four overs, including the dismissal of the dangerous Smith and the burgeoning Ambati Rayudu in quick succession.

Rajasthan's reply raced to 117 for one inside a dozen overs – and 137 for two within 14 – before Rahane's fall for 65 triggered a dramatic capitulation. Harbhajan's final over, indeed, cherished prolific consequences – as the half-centurion, the hard-hitting Stuart Binny and West Indian signing Kevon Cooper's departures brought three wickets within six deliveries.

Seamer Kieron Pollard, soon thereafter, orchestrated a similar feat – and an asking rate that had seemed straightforward was promptly proven insurmountable. All out for an insufficient 169 for 18.5 overs, the disappointed Royals watched in dismay as Mumbai cherished a second CLT20 title in three years.

"This is a great feeling, winning two cups in one year. It was a little easier to score with the new ball. The ball was getting a bit wet. That over I took three wickets was probably the best I've bowled in the last three months. I didn't practice much before this series," said Man of the Match Harbhajan.

Smith, reminding the West Indian selectors of his prowess ahead of next year's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, was named Player of the Series – thanks to 223 runs in five innings an average of 55.75 and 142.94 strike rate.

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