Mumbai 146 for 7 (Sarfaraz 36*, Iyer 34, Jaiswal 27, Arora 3-27, Dagar 2-24) beat Himachal Pradesh 143 for 8 (Sen 37, Vasisht 25, Kotian 3-15, Avasthi 3-21) by three wickets
In a contest that was a fitting endorsement for a final, Mumbai dug deep to pull off a sensational last-over win and inflict heartbreak on Himachal Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final in Kolkata. The victory was all the more special since it was their maiden T20 crown.
On a nippy evening, with the Eden Gardens surface doing just enough to keep the seamers interested, Himachal stuttered with the bat to finish with 143 for 8 but kept themselves in the game courtesy some outstanding bowling and fielding for large parts.
With Mumbai needing 16 off 8, Sarfaraz flat-batted medium pacer Abhinay for a six over long-off and followed that up with a neat, little deflection past the keeper for four to bring the equation down to six runs needed off the final over.
Avasthi and Kotian give Himachal the shivers
Things got from bad to worse when Nitin Sharma tamely lobbed a return catch to Kotian off the next delivery. Four balls later, when Rishi was deceived by a Shivam Dube cutter that he heaved to midwicket, Himachal had lost three wickets for one.
Kotian wasn’t done yet. Off his second over, he had Prashant Chopra courtesy some indecisiveness when he stabbed at a drifter on a length to lob a catch to a diving Prithvi Shaw at backward point. At 58 for 6, this threatened to be 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 favours by looking for a glory hit, only to slice an attempted hack across the line to short third man. At 119 for 7, it was Himachal’s game to lose.
Under immense pressure now, with the fast bowlers choking Mumbai on a surface that was holding up to make shot-making a tad difficult, Sarfaraz looked for one slog too many against Dagar’s left-arm spin. It was here that the match turned when Abhinay, back-pedalling from short fine leg, failed to judge the ball under the hazy night sky under pressure.
Sarfaraz would soon find his release shots to take Mumbai home, much to the joy of the rest of the squad as they squeezed home to their maiden title win.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo