Mumbai Indians gifted a win to Sachin on his 40th birthday

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Mumbai Indians kept their nerve and eked out a crucial victory, by five wickets, in their needle contest against Kolkata Knight Riders. Chasing 160, Mumbai needed 10 off the final over.

Their chances looked bleak after Kieron Pollard holed out in the deep off the first ball from Rajat Bhatia. But Harbhajan Singh smote a six off the third ball of the over and Ambati Rayudu hit a four off the fifth to ensure that Sachin Tendulkar’s 40th birthday had a happy ending.

Pepsi IPL - Match 33 KKR v MI

Mumbai’s charge was anchored by opener Dwayne Smith who scored 62 off 45 balls. Later, Rohit Sharma and Pollard also came up with handy contributions to keep Mumbai in sight of the target. The visitors were particularly severe on Lankan spinner S Senanayake who gave away 50 runs in his four overs. It cost the hosts dearly.

Earlier, Kolkata managed 159 for 6 at a packed Eden Gardens. They had promised much more after Gautam Gambhir won a good toss and the Knights began in whirlwind fashion.

Both teams made a change each. Mumbai skipper Ricky Ponting opted out to make way for left-arm pacer Mitchel Johnson. KKR dropped all-rounder LR Shukla for the left-arm spin of Iqbal Abdulla. If the hosts thus reposed faith in their stuttering batting, it certainly looked a smart move when the match started.

Delayed half an hour by rain, it was a dramatic one as Yusuf Pathan and Gambhir clobbered Harbhajan Singh for 26 runs in the first over. But even as the terraces warmed up to a run-feast, Yusuf fell in the next over.

Johnson, back in the playing eleven after sitting out against Daredevils, began with a wide but had Yusuf’s footwork in no man’s land with the next, and the edge went to Harbhajan at slip.

Lasith Malinga could not evoke respect as Gambhir and Kallis kept up the momentum, and with Johnson soon stored up for the death overs, it was left to Pragyan Ohja to pull things back.

The left-arm spinner, introduced amidst the storm, did it by the best method — knocking off wickets. KKR had a competitive total, but they know they should have had more.

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