Mumbai Indians carved out a hard-fought seven-wicket victory over Pune Warriors in a low-scoring Indian Premier League clash that went down to the last ball, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on Wednesday.
Chasing a modest target after bowling out the opposition for 118 in 17.2 overs, Mumbai looked on course with Sachin Tendulkar (35 off 39 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (37 off 40) at the crease, but after their dismissals the home team made heavy weather of the task before finally ending up with 124 for three in 20 overs.
Mumbai's Munaf Patel, who finished with impressive figures of three wickets for eight runs in 14 deliveries, was declared Man of the Match.
Requiring five off the last over, and then one off the last ball, Rohit Sharma (20 not out off 18 balls)) hoisted left-arm spinner Murali Kartik over long-off for a six to clinch victory.
Sharma and Andrew Symonds (16 off 15 balls) put on an unfinished partnership of 35 runs to earn Mumbai their third win in four outings.
After the early loss James Franklin, Tendulkar and Rayudu added 74 runs in 12 overs for the second wicket to put the home team in sight of a comprehensive victory.
A flick boundary by Tendulkar off Shrikant Wagh early into his innings was an indication of the kind of form the batsman was in.
Rayudu blossomed in the company of his captain and drove Wayne Parnell through cover and then lofted the left-arm pacer over mid-wicket.
After six overs the score was 32 for one and the 50 came up in only 45 balls.
The duo's dismissals in quick succession affected the run-rate for a while, but Sharma and Symonds stepped up the tempo in the nick of time.
Tendulkar was dismissed for the first time in four games, having come into this match following a brilliant 100 not out against Kochi on April 17, before Rayudu also departed six runs later.
Twenty runs were needed off the last 18 balls, before Symonds struck two fours off the first two balls of Wayne Parnell to bring down the required run-rate.
Thereafter Symonds and Sharma hung on to complete the task.
Earlier, Robin Uthappa smashed a quick 45 but the top-order put up a pathetic display as Pune were shot out in less than 20 overs.
Uthappa cracked a six and six fours in his 27-ball knock to help Pune rally from a sorry-looking 17 for four and get past the 100-run mark.
The initial damage was done by Assam seamer Abu Nechim, who replaced an injured Harbhajan Singh in the playing eleven.
Hetook two wickets in three balls in the fourth over before Patel also grabbed a couple in three balls to leave Pune on the ropes. Nechim grabbed two for 13 while Ali Murtaza, who opened the bowling, made amends for the costly 19th over in the defeat to Kochi Tuskers Kerala last week, returning with figures of two for 18.
Warriors, who lost to Delhi Daredevils three days back, made a reasonable start after opting to bat, openers Jesse Ryder and Tim Paine putting on 16.
But things went horribly wrong in the fourth and fifth overs as they lost four wickets in the space of just 7 balls, including that of in-form opener Ryder for 12.
Former India Under-19 pacer Nechim came on to bowl the third over was the unlikely hero.
Ryder mistimed a pull-shot as Nechim fed him with short stuff and Tendulkar took a smart overhead catch running backwards.
If that wasn't enough, Mithun Manhas (0) followed suit when he edged one to Rayudu, who kept wickets instead of Davy Jacobs.
From 17 for two, it suddenly became 17 for four when Paine (2) and skipper Yuvraj Singh (0) were sent back by Munaf.
While Paine got one that climbed pretty fast and clipped the off-stump as he tried to pull, Yuvraj had minimal footwork as he nicked it to give Rayudu his second catch.
Uthappa, who came in at the fall of the second wicket then started a repair job with Mohnish Mishra.
Uthappa hit a four and six off Pollard to provide some momentum to the team's total however.
Mishra, who hit two boundaries was caught in the deep off Ali Murtaza's bowling and Warriors were tottering at 52 for five.
Then Kartik joined Uthappa and they added another 35 runs to take the total to 87 before Kartik chipped a fuller delivery from Malinga to Andrew Symonds at mid-on.
Uthappa, who looked good enough for a well-deserved half century, was finally out when he tried to hit Murtaza but Pollard's acrobatic effort cut short his innings.
At 98 for seven, it was difficult for the Warriors to put up a respectable T20 score. Leggie Rahul Sharma (13, 9 balls) hit a six and four off James Franklin to take the score past 100, but Munaf got his third wicket as he had Sharma caught by Murtaza at deep point.
The worst part about Pune's batting was they failed to utilise 16 deliveries which could have meant another 25 runs if they had wickets in hand.