Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
New Delhi: It was an incredible innings under pressure from skipper Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians decimated Perth Scorchers to advance into the semis of Champions League Twenty 20 on Wednesday.
Sharma was unbeaten on 51 from 24 balls which was a match-winning innings after Dwayne Smith got his side off to a flier.
Chasing 150 to win in 14.2 overs, Dwayne Smith was brutal from the word go as he smashed Scorchers’ bowlers to all parts of the ground. Sachin Tendulkar’s poor form in the series continued as he was dismissed for a second-ball duck by Jason Behrendorff and Glenn Maxwell (10) was soon to follow as Mumbai found themselves struggling at 34/2.
After losing two quick wickets, Sharma stitched a crucial 38-run partnership with Dwayne Smith for the third wicket followed by another entertaining 65 run-partnership between Kieron Pollard for the fourth within no time. Sharma and Pollard soaked all the pressure during that partnership and when Pollard was finally bowled by Brad Hogg in the 13th over, Mumbai needed just 13 runs to qualify off just 11 balls.
Towards the end, Mumbai comprehensively won the match by six wickets with 40 balls remaining as Ambati Rayudu launched Ashton Agar for two consecutive sixes off the first two balls of the 13th over.
Earlier, Perth Scorchers tried their best to knock Mumbai out of the tournament as they reached a respectable total of 149 runs after some pivotal contributions from the top order.
Openers Ashton Agar (35) and Simon Katich (13) added 55 runs for the first wicket but the most significant innings for them came from Sam Whiteman who scored a half-century and remained unbeaten on 51 from just 32 balls.
Mumbai bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and spinner Pragyan Ojha shared five wickets between themselves to make sure the Scorchers’ batsmen didn’t reach a mammoth total and the Mumbai batsmen made sure they kept the required run-rate within reach.
Chasing 149 runs was never going to be easy in 14.2 overs but once they lost Tendulkar early in the innings, big-hitting batsmen like Smith and Pollard ensured that they kept hitting boundaries and sixes at regular intervals.
Rohit Sharma, who had scored 44 and 20 in the previous two matches once again led from the front and sailed Mumbai into the semis. The 30-year-old was also adjudged the Man of the Match for his superb knock.