x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mumbai close in on last four

Mumbai Indians showed no signs of losing momentum as they moved to within a win of confirming their spot in the IPL semi-finals.

Mumbai Indians showed no signs of losing momentum as they moved to within a win of confirming their spot in the IPL semi-finals with a crushing 63-run triumph over Deccan Chargers last night. After getting 178 for five on the board, Mumbai stifled Deccan Chargers with a fine bowling performance, dismissing them for 115 to record their seventh win in eight games and stay on top of the table.

Mumbai have failed to reach the semi-final stage of the tournament in the past two seasons but they should be the first to get there this time around. That, however, is not the goal for the team - they have set the bar a bit higher. "We are not thinking about the semi-finals," said Harbhajan Singh, the Mumbai and India off-spinner, who took three Deccan wickets including the key one of Rohit Sharma.

"We have set our sights a bit higher. Our goals are much bigger than that." There is every chance Mumbai could be featuring in the final at home, with every player contributing towards the team's cause. Last night, it was Saurabh Tiwary (44) and Ambati Rayudu (55 not out) yet again, as they resurrected the innings after Shikhar Dhawan, Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Bravo were back in the pavilion by the ninth over with only 62 on the board.

Tiwary and Rayudu, named man of the match, turned things around with a 65-run partnership from 46 balls. Kieron Pollard's (21) 10-ball cameo later allowed the home side to finish with a flourish with 34 runs from the last two overs. Tiwary has now taken his tally from eight games of this IPL to 250 runs and he credits the senior players in the team for his improvement over last season. "I learnt a lot from the seniors last season and that has helped me this time around," he said.

* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies