Smith leads Mumbai into IPL final
KOLKATA, India – Barbados and West Indies big-hitter Dwayne Smith struck his second successive half-century as Mumbai Indians snatched an exciting four-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals, to set up a clash in Sunday’s Indian Premier League final with Dwayne Bravo’s Chennai Super Kings.
Playing on Friday at Eden Gardens in the final playoff contest, the right-hander stroked an unusually restrained 62 off 44 balls which allowed Mumbai to overhaul their target of 166, off the penultimate ball of the game.
Smith, who struck 68 in a losing effort in Mumbai’s first playoff game on Tuesday, counted six fours and two sixes, before he eventually fell in the 17th over, with his side still requiring 34 runs from 21 balls.
However, Ambati Rayudu hit 17 from 11 balls before Harbhajan Singh sealed victory with a boundary off the fifth ball of the last over bowled by Australia seamer Shane Watson, after Mumbai needed eight to win off the final six deliveries.
“I really had to do it (play the lead role). I am still disappointed I didn’t carry on but I am glad the guys pulled through. It was a hard fought one and I hope that we can go through and look to win the final,” Smith said afterward.
“I said tonight has to be a real special night and we need to get into the final and play against CSK (Chennai Super Kings) and try to beat them again. It was just about me going out there and getting a good score again for Mumbai.”
Smith put on 70 for the first wicket with rookie Indian right-hander Aditya Tare who hit 35 from 27 balls, before adding a further 55 for the second wicket with Dinesh Karthik (22).
Smith looked set to take Mumbai home when he perished in the 17th over, spooning a catch into the leg-side after being deceived by a slower ball from seamer Stuart Binny.
Smith’s West Indies teammate Kieron Pollard departed shortly afterward after striking one six in 11 from six balls.
Trinidadian medium pacer Kevon Cooper was the best Royals bowler with two for 33 from his four overs.
Earlier, opener Rahul Dravid top scored with 43 from 37 balls to guide the Royals to 165 for six, after they opted to bat first.
Pollard snared two for six from his only over.