Mumbai win thanks to spin superiority

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The Mumbai Indians used their world class spinners to maximum effect on Monday, defending their total of 174 against the Kings XI Punjab by just four runs, thanks to a half century by Rohit Sharma.

The Mumbai Indians used their world class spinners to maximum effect on Monday, defending their total of 174 against the Kings XI Punjab by just four runs, thanks to a half century by Rohit Sharma.

Sharma's 79 not out off 39 balls was the backbone of the Mumbai knock, and while the Kings' David Miller tried his best to reach the score with 56 runs, the Punjab boys were all out for 170 on the final ball of the match.

Mumbai, without skipper Ricky Ponting due to lack of form, gave Dwayne Smith the chance to open alongside Sachin Tendulkar, and while the West Indian did relatively well, the Little Master recorded yet another failure and was out for nine.

Smith and Dinesh Karthik pushed the score to 43 in the eighth over, before Karthik was bowled by Manpreet Gony for 25 off 19 balls.

This was when Sharma came to the middle, and he and Smith, who had been quiet up till then, put on 43 together. Smith scored 26 of those runs, out of his 33 in total, striking three boundaries and a six before Piyush Chawla grabbed his wicket.

Sharma and Kieron Pollard then put on the best partnership of the match, scoring 88 runs at a rate of 11 to the over. Sharma blazed the ball around the park, bashing six sixes and another half dozen boundaries. Pollard was not out on 21 at the end.

The Kings, also dropping their skipper (Adam Gilchrist), opened with Mandeep Singh and Shaun Marsh, and the former was soon back in the hut, bowled by Lasith Malinga for just nine runs. Manan Vohra was out four runs later, the score 16 for two.

Marsh stuck with fellow Australian, and match captain, David Hussey as they took the score to 55. Marsh made only 10 runs though, and was caught by Pollard off Pragyan Ojha. This was also when the spinners began to dominate.

Harbhajan Singh, Ojha and Dhawal Kulkarni took the bulk of the wickets, with Bhajji removing three batsmen, namely Gony, Gurkeerat Singh and Azhar Mahmood.

Meanwhile, Miller kept the Kings relatively on track in terms of runs, if not wickets in hand, and he recorded his 56 off 34 balls. He was caught by Tendulkar with the score on 149 in the 18th over, and the Indian legend was visibly thrilled with the catch.

The game went to the final ball though, and they needed five off it to win, after Praveen Kumar hit 24 off 15 balls, but Kulkarni had the last laugh and Tendulkar took the catch off the last ball, much to the home crowd's delight.

Mumbai Indians: DR Smith, S Tendulkar, D Karthik, R Sharma, K Pollard, A Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, M Johnson, L Malinga, D Kulkarni, PP Ojha

Kings XI Punjab: S Marsh, Mandeep Singh, M Vohra, D Hussey, D Miller, Azhar Mahmood, Gurkeerat Singh, P Chawla, P Kumar, M Gony, P Awana

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