In the second CLT20 semi-finals played at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Mumbai Indians (MI) clinch an exciting victory against Somerset and reach the CLT20 finals. In the finals, they will play Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who have lately been in ominous form. To stand any chance against the Royal Challengers, they have to really improve their batting performance which has been shaky throughout the tournament.
Luck has favoured MI, who at one stage did not even look like qualifying for the semi-finals. T&T won both their remaining league matches helping MI qualify for the semi-finals ahead of Warriors and Redbacks. On the other hand, Somerset had topped their group, winning two matches and getting a single point from the abandoned one. In absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan who is captaining the MI side, won the crucial toss and rightly elected to bat first. In contrast to the Bangalore wicket which has been a belter, Chennai wicket has been very unpredictable and seemed to favour the bowlers.
Batting first, Mumbai Indians put up a competitive total of 160 runs. Blizzard got MI to a superb start; after 10 overs they were 76/2, which was an ideal platform for a huge total. At the 10-over mark, this was the same number of runs scored by NSW Blues in the first semis. In the next 4 overs, MI lost Franklin and Blizzard, bringing in two new batsmen to the crease. Blizzard, who was looking to cut-loose, in the 13th over was wonderfully clean bowled by Karthik on 54.
Pollard and Yadav, then played a couple of nervous overs and looked to consolidate the innings as MI reached the 100 mark, in the 14th. Pollard looked dangerous and hit couple of huge sixes but an amazing yorker by Thomas brought Somerset back into the game. Pollard managed just 24 in 18 balls.
Turning point in MI innings: In the 19th over, Thomas, who has been the best bowler in this CLT20 tournament gave away 20 runs; this turned things around for MI and helped them reach the vital 160-mark.
Trego and Keiswetter opened the innings for Somerset. Just in the second ball of their innings, Trego was clean bowled by a classic Malinga yorker. Right from the word go, Somerset were put on the back foot. On the other end, Abu Neichem complimented just giving 6 runs in the second over. In the last ball of Malinga’s 2nd over, he plucked the middle-stump, sending Van Der Merve back to the pavilion. After the 4th over, Somerset were in a state of bother and struggling with the scoreboard reading 20/2. At this stage, not many were backing them to come back into the match.
Turning point in Somerset innings: Keiswetter and Hildreth put up a good partnership and brought Somerset back on track. They batted sensibly and helped Somerset reach their 100 in the 14th over. MI were desperately looking to break this partnership and the captain delivered with a vital wicket in the 14th over.
Hildreth made a very useful contribution of 39 of 33 balls. Keiswetter continued the chase scoring his 50* in 39 balls. With Somerset requiring another 45 runs of 24 balls, they were looking at Keiswetter to take them to victory. They had an excellent 17th over, scoring 16 runs requiring another 29 of 18 balls.
Match turning point: In the start of 19th over, Somerset required 22 of 12 balls. In a surprising move, Harbhajan handed over the ball to James Franklin, who had given away only 9 runs of his 2 overs. In the second ball, a hard hit by Buttler, struck the settled Keiswetter at the non-striker end, saving 4-runs for Somerset. In a desperate attempt to get a boundary, Buttler missed a wild swing and was clean bowled. In the second last ball, Keiswetter could not clear the boundary and was superbly caught by Pollard. His brilliant knock of 63 of 42 balls finally came to an end.
With a boundary scored off the last ball of 19th, 15 runs were required from the final Malinga over. Malinga was lethal giving away only 4 and knocking of the stump twice.MI win and will play RCB in the finals!
1. Man of the Match: Lasith Malinga for his 4/20 spell
2. Power SIXES: Aiden Blizzard, for his 3 SIXES
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