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Cricket | IPL

Smith helps Mumbai edge KKR



Opener Dwayne Smith’s aggressive half-century helped Mumbai Indians edge out Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets in their Pepsi IPL contest at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Full Scorecard: Kolkata v Mumbai

The big-hitting West Indian smashed five sixes and three fours in a fine 62 off 45 deliveries to lead his team to their 160 victory target with one ball to spare.

Fellow opener and iconic India batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who was celebrating his 40th birthday, made just two, but he is unlikely to be too unhappy after his team avoided a third straight defeat.

Sunil Narine reclaimed the purple cap for leading wicket-taker in the tournament after his three for 17, which proved consolation for the Kolkata bowler, whose side had batted well earlier on to post a competitive total.

Veteran Proteas allrounder Jacques Kallis top-scored with 37 off 38 deliveries, with Manoj Tiwary (33 off 24) and Eoin Morgan (31 off 25) also making useful contributions.

Most of the visiting bowlers shone, led by two wickets apiece for Pragyan Ojha (2-21), Lasith Malinga (2-25) and Mitchell Johnson (2-26).

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The start was delayed by 30 minutes due to some rain and a wet outfield, but once the game began, there were fireworks from the outset.

Kolkata had won the toss and chosen to bat, with Yusuf Pathan playing perhaps the innings of the day – a bludgeoning 19 off a mere six deliveries opening the batting.

All those runs came from a 26-run opening over sent down by Harbhajan Singh.

Pathan was the chief destroyer as he smashed the first four deliveries for 4-4-4-6, the maximum sailing high over long-off, before captain Gautam Gambhir sent the penultimate delivery by the bowler – a free hit – over long-on for six.

But Johnson ended the dangerous Pathan’s cameo by having him caught by Harbhajan at first slip with the first delivery of the second over.

It was a difficult act for Gambhir and Kallis to follow, but they took the hosts to 50 in just the fourth over as they added 41 for the second wicket.

The skipper then fell softly as he chipped Ojha straight to Harbhajan while attempting to heave over long-on for 26 off 20, while Kallis departed with the score on 92 when he slashed the same bowler to Rohit Sharma at cover.

The 100 was raised in the 13th over, as Tiwary and Morgan began to gather momentum.

They put on a 54-run partnership in 6.4 overs, before Malinga struck back late on to restrict further damage.

Mumbai made a cautious start to the response with only 13 coming from the first three overs.

But Smith soon got going and struck successive sixes off Iqbal Abdulla, over midwicket and long-on, in the fourth over, although his team were quickly pegged back when birthday-boy Tendulkar had his middle stump uprooted by Narine.

Dinesh Karthik was next in and helped Mumbai pass 50 in the seventh over, Smith crashing Abdulla for another maximum in the process.

Another six followed by two in the over that followed by Sachithra Senanayake took the West Indian to his 14th career half-century in 34 balls, before the bowler gained a measure of revenge by dismissing Karthik (seven) leg before wicket.

Smith departed, caught by Brendon McCullum off Narine going for another big shot, leaving the total on 82 for three.

Kieron Pollard (33 off 24) and Sharma took their side past 100 in the 13th over, the latter pasting Sri Lankan Senanayake for two more successive sixes, as they put on exactly 50 together from 36 balls.

And after both fell, it was left to Ambati Rayudu (13) and Harbhajan (seven), who struck a six in the final over when 10 were still needed, to take Mumbai over the line.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: G Gambhir (capt), JH Kallis, YK Pathan, MK Tiwary, EJG Morgan, DB Das (wk), Iqbal Abdulla, R Bhatia, SMSM Senanayake, SP Narine, L Balaji

MUMBAI INDIANS: DR Smith, SR Tendulkar, RG Sharma (capt), KD Karthik (wk), AT Rayudu, KA Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, MG Johnson, YS Chahal, PP Ojha, SL Malinga

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