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Masterclass & final dash

Rohit Sharma might have played a rash shot at a crucial juncture in Sunday's game, which gave the Chennai Super Kings an opportunity to get back into the contest, but this Mumbai lad, who is turning into a seasoned cricketer with each passing day, doesn’t have any regrets. Firoz Mirza reports.

india Updated: May 07, 2012 00:14 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times
Firoz Mirza,Chennai Super Kings,Rohit Sharma

Although Dwayne Smith had blazed the long-off fence for the winning hit some time back, spectators at the Wankhede Stadium were still rooted to their places.

It was quite a break from the normal routine in Indian stadiums where the fans try to avoid the rush and make a dash to the exit as soon as the last ball is bowled.

On Sunday, it appeared the Mumbai crowd hadn't had enough of the electric atmosphere in this Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings clash, after the hosts had won the action-packed thriller off the last ball of the game.

The beauty of the Indian Premier League is its ability to throw up heroes out of nowhere. Till last week, Smith was playing club cricket in Trinidad, on Sunday he had become the toast of the town. He would not have been roped in but for Australian left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson being ruled out because of injury.

Stunning finish
With 14 needed of three balls, not many gave the batting team a chance. But Smith brought the roof down by lashing Ben Hilfenhaus for a six, four and four to settle the issue.

Smith's cameo showed how quickly fortunes can change in T20 cricket.

He had no takers at this year's auction held in Bangalore, going unsold even at a modest base price of $100,000. After his nine-ball 24 not out, the Barbados player should be hot property now.

Out of favour in Test and one-day cricket, the West Indies player is looking to revive his career via T20 cricket. He's an unknown commodity in the IPL, but Hilfenhaus should have known what he was up against when he started the final over.

Smith recently struck a match-winning 34-ball 63 against Australia in the second T20 international at his home town — the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown.

It was a dream match for the Wankhede crowd as their appetite had already been whetted during a spectacular 126-run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma. The artistry of the two local stars had the holiday crowd purring in delight.

Top show
Tendulkar gave a virtuoso performance while Sharma blazed away from the other end as Mumbai Indians set about chasing a challenging target.

The innings was just the kind of effort people expect of a man who has nothing more to achieve and whose main intention should be to entertain.

On Sunday, Tendulkar exhibited that kind of total freedom, playing his strokes without the fear of failure.

The game had its twists and turns, nothing bigger than what Ravindra Jadeja provided in the 18th over.

The left-arm spinner turned the game on its head when he produced a double strike, claiming the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Sharma while conceding just two runs.

With 24 needed of 12 balls, it was advantage Chennai, but Smith ensured the hosts -- who also won in Chennai -- had the last laugh.

First Published: May 07, 2012 00:09 IST