Kolkata: James Franklin struck a blistering 23-ball unbeaten 45 to help Mumbai Indians pull off a sensational five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the final round-robin league match of the IPL on Sunday.
Pacer Laxmipathy Balaji turned as the villain for the Knight Riders, as needing 21 off the last over, he went for four boundaries and a six to concede 23 runs and hand Mumbai Indians the last ball win at the packed Eden Gardens.
It was Franklin who started the proceedings in the last over, spanking Balaji for four consecutive boundaries to reduce the equation to four of the last delivery.
Young Ambati Rayudu (17 not out off 6 balls) then drew curtains to the match in style, clobbering Balaji over the square-leg fence to silence the sellout Eden crow and bring the the Mumbai outfit back on winning track after three consecutive defeats.
The win meant Mumbai finish the round-robin league on the third position with 18 points from 14 matches ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders, who have 16 points from as many games.
By virtue of their win against Chennai Super Kings earlier in the day, Royal Challengers Bangalore topped the standings with 19 points from 14 matches.
Even though both Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have similar points, the former remained in the second spot because of a better net run rate.
Royal Challengers will now take on Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, while the Knight Riders will be up against Mumbai Indians in the eliminator on Wednesday at the same venue.
Put into bat, the Knight Riders had an eerie start losing two quick wickets with the scoreboard reading 22 but Jacques Kallis displayed a cool head and guided the home team innings with a 42-ball 59.
Together with Manoj Tiwary (35 off 22) and Yusuf Pathan (36 off 27), Kallis shared 47 and 57 runs for the third and fourth wickets respectively to set the platform for Knight Riders` challenging score of 175 for seven.
The burly South African entertained a sell-out Eden crowd with four boundaries and three sixes.
Towards the end, Ryan ten Doeschate (18 off 12) and Rajat Bhatia (11 not out off 6) played good hands to take Knight Riders past the 170-run mark.
For Mumbai Indians, young right-arm pacer Abu Nechim Ahmed and Franklin took two wickets each, giving away 32 and 35 runs respectively.
Defending the total, Rajat Bhatia returned with fine figures of three wickets for 22 runs to help the Knight Riders pull back after Sachin Tendulkar (38 from 27 balls, 6x4) and Harbhajan Singh (30 from 29 balls, 5x4) looked dangerous with a 57-run second wicket stand that came of just 42 balls.