x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rayudu's Mumbai have last laugh

At the end of the evening, all Gautam Gambhir could say was "it happens in cricket", after his Kolkata Knight Riders side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Mumbai.

At the end of the evening, all Gautam Gambhir could say was "it happens in cricket", after his Kolkata Knight Riders side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against a never-say-die Mumbai Indians side at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, last night.

Posting an imposing total of 175 for seven after being put in to bat first, the hosts had all but wrapped up the game with the Indians needing 21 runs to win with just one over remaining.

But the last over, bowled by former India seamer Laxmipathy Balaji, proved to be a disaster. Gambhir watched helplessly as the gifted Ambati Raudu hit three streaky fours and a last-ball six to take Mumbai to a five-wicket win.

Had Kolkata held on in the last over yesterday, they would have moved to second in the Indian Premier League (IPL) table and had the opportunity to play the first qualifier against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Instead, they will now play the Indians again on Friday, knowing very well it could be their last IPL game for the season. By losing, Kolkata also failed to nail a place in the Champions League Twenty20 competition.

Gambhir, however, put up a brave face, saying: "Bala tried his best. He will come back strongly," before adding that "this is what happens in T20 cricket, it's just one of those bad days. Sometimes you have to bowl to your field, sometimes you have to bowl smartly".

Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai captain who set up the innings with a score of 38, was naturally delighted with the result.

"Our team batted well ... great finish by Rayudu and [James] Franklin," he said. "It was important to regain our momentum."

The one man Mumbai will be indebted to for the win is man of the match Franklin whose unbeaten 45 helped the visitors through the difficult middle overs.

* Compiled by The National staff with agency