Smith leads Mumbai Indians to CLT20 final

DELHI, India,  CMC – Barbadian Dwayne Smith shared an opening partnership of 90 runs with Sachin Tendulkar of India to lead the Mumbai Indians to a six-wicket victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the second semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20 here yesterday.

The win gives the Indian Premier League champions, the Mumbai Indians, a shot at the CLT20 title when they play Rajasthan Royals in today’s final.

Man of the Match Smith hit 59 off 38 balls including seven fours and two sixes as the set the tempo for the Mumbai Indians. He was well supported by Tendulkar with his 35 and who in the process surpassed 50,000 runs in all recognised forms of the sport.

By the time Tendulkar departed with the score on 90, the home team was already in charge of the match despite a few setbacks led by the spinning maestro Sunil narine who bagged three for 17 off his four overs.

Rohit Sharma (25) and Dinesh Karthik (33 not out) proved valuable in the end as the Indians reached their target with five balls to spare. Trinidadian Kieron Pollard was unbeaten on two runs from just three balls.

Earlier, the T&T Red Force sent in to bat, made 153 for five with Evin Lewis hitting 62 off 46 balls and Yannick Ottley unbeaten on 41. Nicolas Pooran (15) and Darren Bravo (14) were the only notable contributors as the Red Force fell short of setting the Mumbai Indians a challenging target.

Pollard (1 for 16) and Pragyan Ojha (1 for 16) were the best bowlers as Mitchell Johnson, Harbhajan Singh and Nathan Coulter-Nile also took a wicket.

“We should have got 15 runs more on that pitch, we started really well but then we kept losing wickets and couldn’t get any momentum going,” said Denesh Ramdin, the captain of T&T.

“There was a bit of dew out there but we bowled too many full balls which they could score off freely. Sachin & Dwayne set it up brilliantly for them. We had a lot of young players and thanks to everyone who has supported us in our last tournament.”

His opposite colleague credits his bowlers for restricting the Trinidadians but also praised the opening stand of Smith and Tendulkar.

“It was really a team effort and we showed the character we have. They started really well but our bowlers did really well to restrict them to 153,” said Rohit Sharma.

“Our openers then set the platform so we could come in late and play some shots. It’s good we have played two games here in preparation for the final and it will be a real test.”

The final will feature two of India’s cricket legends playing for the last time in T20 – Rahul Dravid for the Rajasthan Royals and Tendulkar taking the field for the Mumbai Indians.

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