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Rediff.com  » Sports » Punjab edge past Mumbai in a thriller

Punjab edge past Mumbai in a thriller

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Last updated on: May 21, 2008 21:06 IST

Kings XI Punjab halted Mumbai Indians' six-match winning streak with a thrilling one-run victory off the last ball in the Indian Premier League match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday evening.

In a frenzied final phase of the match, the home team, chasing the visitors' 189 for four, was dismissed for 188, their last six wickets falling in three overs.

The victory, their third in a row, virtually put Punjab XI into the semi-finals, leaving Mumbai Indians on 12 points from 11 matches, with the difficult task of winning at least two of their last three away outings to make it to the last four.

Mumbai Indians also lost their away match to the visitors in Mohali on April 25.

Cruising to victory with captain Sachin Tendulkar (64) on song, Mumbai Indians suddenly lost the plot and a clutch of wickets -- mostly to run-outs -- saw them end up on the losing side.

From 159 for three in 16.5 overs, the home team slumped to 188 all out when last man Vikrant Yeligati was run-out at the non-striker's end by a superb piece of fielding by Punjab XI skipper Yuvraj Singh when two runs were needed off the final ball.

Five batsmen were run-out in the innings, and among those the most crucial dismissal was that of Tendulkar, who got mixed up with Robin Uthappa's yes-no call and was stranded out of the crease at the non-striker's end.

Mumbai Indians lost Shaun Pollock and Uthappa quickly and the loss of three wickets in just seven balls unnerved the rest of the batsmen, who took enormous risks and failed.

Taking centre stage after the fall of swashbuckling opening partner Sanath Jayasuriya (20) in the third over, Tendulkar played the anchor role, hitting 12 fours off 46 balls, before being run-out off the last ball of the 17th over.

Mumbai Indians lost their way after his dismissal, and that of Pollock, out first ball after top-edging Yuvraj to third man.

Tendulkar, playing in only his fourth IPL tie after missing the first seven matches, cleverly batted around power-hitters Dwayne Smith (20) and Abhishek Nayar (27) but the clutch of wickets in the end undid his good work.

The Mumbai run chase got off to a flier with Jayasuriya taking full advantage of a wayward Irfan Pathan and smashing him for two sixes and a four in his opening over which yielded 24 runs.

S Sreesanth was prone to bowling wide balls at the other end and 36 was raised in only 20 balls when the Kerala-born pacer trapped Jayasuriya with a slower ball.

Tendulkar, looking sedate when Jayasuriya was at the crease, and one-down Smith, playing his first game after joining the team two days ago, added 45 runs with the West Indian all-rounder starting off the block in style with two fours and a pulled six off Sreesanth.

Tendulkar, content to play the anchoring role, also opened out but lost his partner Smith who was run out backing up too far to an attempted single.

Nayar, promoted ahead of Uthappa, did his bit as he struck two sixes and a four in his 18-ball 27 before holing out to Tanmay Srivastava when slog-sweeping leg break bowler Piyush Chawla.

Earlier, the in-form Marsh made the most of an early escape to compile a superb 81 and put on a century stand with compatriot Luke Pomersbach to help Kings XI Punjab amass 189.

Marsh, dropped by Robin Uthappa at gully off Shaun Pollock when on 6, struck seven fours and four sixes in his 56-ball half century, his fifth in seven games.

He also added 133 runs for the second wicket, off only 86 balls, with fellow left-hander Pomersbach (79 not out) to lift the visitors from 1 for 1 to a very competitive total.

The visitors, with 14 points under their belt going into their 11th match, lost an early wicket -- that of James Hopes, who poked his bat at a fine out-swinger from Pollock off the first ball he faced and nicked to stumper Pinal Shah.

But Marsh, who started slowly before accelerating, stole the show with some classical batting to dominate the rest of the bowling once Pollock, after yet another stand-out bowling stint, was off the attack after a spell of 1 for 14 in three overs.

Initially, Marsh was overshadowed by Pomersbach during their second wicket partnership, worth 133, that helped the Punjab team recover from a shaky start. The Western Australian youngster, included in the Australian ODI team to play against the West Indies, had a lucky escape on six in the team score of 8, when Uthappa, who had an off-day in the field, grassed the catch at gully after diving forward when Marsh glided Pollock.

It proved a costly error for Mumbai, who made a few changes to their bowling attack, as Marsh held sway over the bowling thereafter.

Pomersbach, who played the ideal foil for his more attacking partner, was also given the benefit of doubt by third umpire Suresh Shastri after repeated viewings of TV replays when Pollock's pick-up and throw at the non-striker's end stumps seemed to have caught the batsman short of the crease.

The batsman was then on 17 in a total of 66 for one and went on to remain unbeaten after facing 50 balls and striking ten fours and three sixes.

The 100 of the Punjab innings was raised in 71 balls and Marsh continued to bat in the same attacking fashion, hitting his sixes mostly over the straight field, before he was caught in the deep by Pollock while trying to clear the ropes for the fifth time.

Young off-spinner Sidharth Chitnis, playing in the tournament after missing a few matches, also accounted for visiting team captain Yuvraj Singh to claim 2 for 40 as the home team fought back a bit and seemed poised to restrict the visitors, who were 134 for 2 after 15 overs, below 180.

But the last over by Ashish Nehra, surprisingly bowling instead of Pollock who had one more over left in his quota, proved expensive as Pomersbach smashed him for two fours and six off consecutive balls to take the total one run below 190.

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