Little-known Uttarakhand engineer Akash Madhwal cast a dream spell as his five-wicket haul brought five-time champions Mumbai Indians one step closer to the summit clash after beating Lucknow Super Giants for 81 races in IPL Eliminator, on Wednesday. The Mumbai Indians struck 182 for 8 from 20 overs and looked 15 short given Lucknow’s explosive batting power, but Madhwal’s incredible figures of 3.3-0-5-5 and excellent running fielding led by captain Rohit Sharma saw Gautam Gambhir mentored the winger falling apart for a paltry 101 in 16.3 overs. There were three appearances in what turned out to be a forgettable evening for the Sanjiv Goenka-owned franchise.
MI will now face Gujarat Titans on Friday in the second Qualifier in Ahmedabad to decide on the Chennai Super Kings opposition for Sunday’s grand final.
If the early part of the evening belonged to a fierce Naveen ul Haq, whose 4 for 37 shot made everyone wary of MI’s final result, Madhwal reaffirmed the faith his skipper showed in him.
The delivery that clinched the final was a ball to the dangerous Nicholas Pooran (0) from around the wicket. He tossed it from just past the crease and formed to the inside before cutting it off with an extra rebound that forced the lefty to pass it to Ishan Kishan behind the stumps.
That literally broke LSG’s back and on either side of that wicket Madhawal took four more to enhance his reputation as having been a tennis ball cricketer until the age of 23.
Skipper Rohit, who has been ridiculed for his fitness, dove in and the relay throw to get Krishnappa Gowtham out was a terrific effort.
Earlier, the flamboyant Afghan sailor Naveen ul Haq took four wickets as Lucknow Super Giants managed to hold the Mumbai Indians in check at 182 for 8 in 20 overs.
Naveen, who has been in the spotlight since his angry exchanges with Virat Kohli during a league match against RCB, was constantly booed by the Chepauk crowd but did well enough to see off MI skipper Rohit (11 from 10 balls), batting prop Suryakumar Yadav (33 from 20 balls), the hero of the last game Cameron Green (41 from 23 balls) and the always dangerous Tilak Verma (26 from 22 balls).
Naveen with Surya and Green in an over could well prove decisive as MI was at least 15 under-score. MI also needed to replace Surya with impact player Nehal Wadhera, whose 23 of 12 balls took them past the 180-run mark.
Wadhera hit a six and hit two fours in the final on a floored by Yash Thakur (3-for-34) to increase the MI score.
The impressive Moshin Khan (1-24) conceded just 6 runs in the penultimate over before Wadhera picked up the pace in Thakur’s next, last over of innings.
Starting slow, Skipper Rohit (11, 10 ball, 1v4, 1v6) went down trying to pick up the pace, jumping to hit Naveen only to find Ayush Badoni on the way in the fourth over.
Yash Thakur spiked in the next over, getting Ishan Kishan (15, 12 balls, 3v4) through one to the keeper.
Suryakumar and Green gave the innings some momentum with a third wicket partnership of 66 runs in just over six overs.
Green, who hammered a ton in the last league game against SRH, hit limit six and 1 six while Yadav hit two highs and as many fours in his 20-ball strike. PTI SS KHS KHS
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