Mumbai Beat 146 for 7 (Sarfaraz 36*, Iyer 34, Jaiswal 27, Arora 3-27, Dagar 2-24) Himachal Pradesh 143 for 8 (Sen 37, Vasisht 25, Kotian 3-15, Avasthi 3-21) by three wickets
In a match that was fitting clearance for a final, Mumbai dug deep to score a sensational final win and cause heartbreak at Himachal Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final in Kolkata. The win was all the more special because it was their first T20 crown.
On a spirited evening, with the Eden Gardens surface doing just enough to keep the sailors interested, Himachal stuttered with the bat to finish 143 for 8, but stayed in the game thanks to excellent bowling and fielding for large parts.
With Mumbai taking 16 out of 8, Sarfaraz flattened mid-paced pacer Abhinay for a long-range six and followed that with a neat little deflection past the keeper for four to narrow the comparison down to six runs needed from the last left.
Avasthi and Kotian give Himachal the shivers
Things went from bad to worse when Nitin Sharma tame threw a return catch at Kotian on the next delivery. Four balls later, when Rishi was tricked by a Shivam Dube cutter whom he lifted to midwicket, Himachal had lost three wickets for one.
Kotian wasn’t ready yet. From his second over, he had faced Prashant Chopra with some indecision as he stabbed a bum at a length to lob a catch at a diving Prithvi Shaw on a trailing point. With 58 for 6 this threatened to become a no-contest.
The lower order rally
Sarfaraz the hero
When Mumbai lost two wickets – Dube and Aman – in the space of three deliveries in the 17th over to Arora, Mumbai felt the shivers. To add to the chaos, Mulani did the dressing room no favors by looking for a glory hit, only to cut an attempted hack across the line to cut the third man. At 119 for 7, it was Himachal’s match to lose.
Under immense pressure now, with the fast bowlers choking Mumbai on a surface that held out to make making a shot a little difficult, Sarfaraz looked for one slog too many against Dagar’s left arm spin. It was here that the game turned when Abhinay, kicking back with his short, fine leg, failed to judge the ball under pressure under the hazy night sky.
Sarfaraz would soon find his release shots to take home Mumbai, much to the delight of the rest of the squad as they pushed home to win their first title.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo