BENGALURU, India, CMC – Ravi Rampaul bowled impressively to take three wickets for 17 runs from four overs, inspiring a stirring Trinidad & Tobago fight-back, but Mumbai Indians out-lasted the Caribbean Twenty20 champions, winning by one wicket in a heart-stopping, low-scoring Champions League T20 match yesterday.
The West Indies fast bowler earned the Man-of-the-Match award, as T&T obstinately defended a victory target of 99 in their opening group match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The visitors bowled and fielded with immense purpose before a tactical move by their long-standing captain Daren Ganga on the very last ball of the match backfired.
Ganga’s flawed judgement to set fielders deep and
concede a single in the hope of a tie allowed last-man Yuzvendra Chahal to work a low full toss from off-spinner Sherwin Ganga, the T&T captain’s younger brother, through mid-wicket for the winning two runs.
Crest-fallen T&T fielders either stooped, bowed, or lay flat on their faces on the field in agony following the outcome, forcing team officials to come onto the field and usher them to the typical post-match hand shakes with Mumbai.
It was the second tense victory for Mumbai in the tournament, after the prevailed over the Chennai Super Kings last Saturday in their opening match.
T&T had suffered an inexplicable batting meltdown, crashing to their lowest T20 total ever of 98 all out in 16.2 overs, after they chose to bat on a slow pitch.
Jason Mohammed gathered the top score of 23, and Lendl Simmons made 21, but no other T&T batsman reached 20.
Harbhajan Singh was the most successful Mumbai bowler with three for 17 from four overs, and Lasith Malinga grabbed two for 22 from four overs.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree made an early strike, when he was caught at short third man for two in the third over.
This sparked a collapse with Rampaul removing Tirumalasetti Suman caught at deep cover for 10, James Franklin caught at slip for a duck, and Andrew Symonds bowled for the same score, leaving Mumbai 16 for four in the sixth over.
This brought Kieron Pollard, Mumbai’s T&T import, to the crease, and his compatriots gave him little room to play a typically explosive innings before off-spinner Sunil Narine bowled him off the under edge, essaying a cut, in the ninth over, setting Mumbai further back on 33 for five.
T&T continued to mount pressure with steady bowling and efficient fielding, but Ambati Rayudu, whose 36 led the Mumbai batting, and Rajagopal Sathish nursed Mumbai’s chances back to life with a stand of 32 for the sixth wicket.
Narine got the breakthrough for T&T, when Sathish was caught at short mid-wicket for 14 in the 16th over, and the run outs of Harbhajan in the 18th over and Malinga with two balls remaining tightened the screws on Mumbai.
Lendl Simmons’ throw to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin off the penultimate ball, running out Rayudu, put T&T on the brink, but Ganga’s gamble failed.
Earlier, T&T suffered an early setback, when Adrian Barath was bowled by Malinga for 11 in the third over, but the match swung horribly in the fifth over, when Simmons was run out, following his mystifying decision not to ground his bat going for a second run.
T&T were 41 for two, and they never fully recovered from the malaise, losing their last eight wickets for 41 runs from 57 deliveries.
The Red Force face the New South Wales Blues in their second match on Wednesday at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in a repeat of the inaugural CLT20 Final.