Kolkata calamity Lakshmipathy Balaji coughed up the worst over imaginable to hand the Mumbai Indians victory across Sunday’s crucial Indian Premier League clash.
Requiring 21 runs off the final over for triumph, James Franklin (45 not out) welcomed a quartet of sorry full tosses and a weak short ball for four consecutive boundaries and a scampered single, which left Ambati Rayudu to spoon the fifth full bunger of the over beyond square-leg for six to win the match.
Jacques Kallis’ 59 and complementary knocks of 36 and 35 from Yusuf Pathan and Manoj Tiwary had done the initial work for the hosts, whose loss of the toss didn’t bug them too much as they amassed a formidable total of 178 for five.
Man of the Match Franklin was the pick of the Mumbai bowlers with figures of two for 35 alongside Abu Nechim’s two for 32, which collectively largely stopped the opposition from reaching the 190-plus score demanded by a batsmen-friendly Eden Gardens pitch.
The visiting side’s reply was riddled with rogue choices as the use of pinch-hitters and Harbhajan Singh (30) and Kieron Pollard (18) up the order hindered rather than helped their cause. Thankfully for them, Sachin Tendulkar ground out a fitting 38 at more than a run a ball.
Whereas Harbhajan, Pollard and Rohit Sharma (10) were not able to go enough of the distance for their side, New Zealand recruit Franklin well and truly came to the party for his adapted side and Rayudu’s demotion down the order ultimately worked a treat for Mumbai.
Asked to bowl the last six deliveries of the match ahead of slow bowler Yusuf, who arguably would’ve been the better bet on a flat track, seamer Balaji failed entirely.
Hopelessly errant in his bid for a consistent yorker length, he was far too wayward and for his fodder fetched four through cover, over the wicketkeeper’s head, past thirdman and across extra cover.
A token single availed the diminutive Rayudu the strike, and with four required off the last ball of an utter humdinger, right-armer Balaji sent down another full toss for the right-hander to plank over the on-side for six triumphant runs.
The result denied the Knight Riders a top-two finish in the 2011 IPL standings, leaving Chennai and Bangalore to lock horns in Tuesday’s first qualifier and Kolkata to face Mumbai again come Wednesday’s eliminator. Cricket365