Mumbai: The most expensive final over in the history of the IPL proved decisive for Kings XI Punjab's replacement captain David Hussey, who opted to bowl it and conceded 27 runs to his rival number, Rohit Sharma. From 147 for 3, Mumbai Indians were boosted to 174 as Rohit smacked Hussey for three sixes and two fours to finish not out on 79 off just 39 deliveries.
That onslaught ultimately came in very handy for Mumbai, who won by four runs after a frenetic final over from Dhawal Kulkarni that included a no-ball that produced two singles, a wide, a six and three dot balls. Praveen Kumar took it upon himself to score the required 17 runs off Kulkarni, but fell slashing the third full toss of the over to Saching Tendulkar at point.
Praveen had threatened to drag his team over the finish line after David Miller's brave 34-ball 56, but in the end Punjab were left to rue losing five wickets halfway into their chase. The result meant Mumbai had won their third in a row to move to 12 points, tied with RCB and Rajasthan Royals.
For three quarters of the first innings, Punjab's seam-dominated attack had found assistance from the Wankhede Stadium surface as they managed to keep Mumbai's strokemakers silenced up front. But it was carnage in the last five overs, which produced 72 runs despite Kieron Pollard going at a strike-rate of 95.23 in a partnership of 88 in 46 deliveries.
Rohit shored up the innings after Tendulkar (9), Dinesh Karthik (25) and Dwayne Smith (33) departed trying to force the pace inside 12.2 overs. Mumbai's run rate was seven an over when Smith departed trying to hit Piyush Chawla out of the ground, but when the innings closed it was 8.70. Credit to that went to Rohit, who began by running smartly between the wickets and looked to off-set the bowlers with placement rather than power.
It wasn't until the 16th over that Rohit opened up, hitting Manpreet Gony for four and six. In the next over, he repeated the dosage to Azhar Mahmood. After a sedate 19th over which yielded one boundary and four singles, Rohit tore apart Hussey by hitting 6, 6, 6, 4, and 4 in six balls (there was one dot and a wide). That over proved match-winning. Pollard, who received lives on 8 and 12, made 20 off 21 balls.
A target of 175 was too much for Punjab who lost half their side before 10 overs were bowled. With the uncapped pair of Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra exiting cheaply and Shaun Marsh falling to a breath-taking one-handed catch at long-off from Pollard, the pressure was on Hussey. He tried to atone for his horror over by releasing a flurry of boundaries but got as far as 34 before lofting Pragyan Ojha to long-on. Punjab slipped to 79 for 5 when Gurkeerat Singh top-edged Harbhajan Singh to cover.
Miller tried to keep Punjab in the hunt with some amazing shots but lacked support; especially idiotic were the dismissals of Mahmood and Gony in Harbhajan's final over, both players swinging wildly instead of getting Miller on strike. That double-wicket over left Punjab to chase 64 from the last six. Miller continued playing his shots, but fell immediately after collecting his fifth six when he drove a low full toss from Johnson straight to a gleeful Tendulkar at cover. Praveen nearly swung himself to heroism, but in the end Kulkarni's awful final over sealed it for Mumbai.