Dwayne Smith is sure to remember the last three balls of the final over in Mumbai Indians’ innings for a long time. Needing 14 off the final three balls, one thought Ben Hilfenhaus would easily do a good containing job after a maiden first over. But Indian Premier League-V debutant Smith smashed a six and two fours in emphatic style to stun defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. The thrilling two-wicket win helped MI inch closer to second spot, and are just a point away from Kolkata Knight Riders.
‘We deserved it’
Man of the match Smith, who scored 24 off nine balls, wasn’t hesitant in reckoning the last three balls as his best so far. “Yeah, you can say that because it is a big win... we deserved it. I would put it up there as one of my best,” Smith said at the post-match conference. Chasing 174, Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma set it up nicely for Mumbai. Tendulkar was at his vintage best once he got into his stride. The batting great slammed two fours and a six in the 14th over to reach his fifty in great fashion. It was his first half century after 14 innings — the last coming at the same ground in IPL-IV against Punjab. Not only did he light up the stadium, but also kept MI in the hunt. Sharma (60) matched Tendulkar stroke-for-stroke and soon brought up his 50 in 37 balls.
Sach a masterpiece
Tendulkar’s masterpiece, a knock of 74, however, ended when Faf du Plessis pulled off a stunning catch at cover. Tendulkar’s wicket opened the floodgates as MI lost four men (Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Sharma and Robin Peterson) for 17 runs. Nonetheless, Smith was confident of a turnaround. “I just backed myself. I knew as long as I watched the ball I could do it. I just asked RP (Singh) to give me the three balls that were left. I knew I could do it from there,” he said. Smith, signed on as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Johnson, was a bit disappointed for not being a part of IPL-V from the beginning. “I actually thought that I was going to be here with one of the teams from the beginning, but that didn’t happen. But I am happy to be here now and win some games for MI,” he said.