Domestic giants Mumbai got their hands on the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, the elusive silverware missing from their bulging cabinet, defeating Himachal Pradesh by three wickets in the summit clash here on Saturday.
Mumbai bowlers were right on the money as spinner Tanush Kotain (3/15) and medium pacer Mohit Avasthi (3/21) shared six wickets between them to restrict Himachal Pradesh to 143 for eight.
Chasing the modest target, Mumbai had their share of hiccups before Sarfaraz Khan once again showed what he is capable of with a timely unbeaten 36-run cameo off 31 balls to help his side cross the line with three balls to spare. There was no one player that dazzled in the summit clash.
Opting to field, Mohit drew the first blood by striking early, getting rid of Himachal wicketkeeper Ankush Bains (4) and Sumeet Verma (8) within the first five overs. Spinner Tanush (3/15) then turned the game on its head with two consecutive wickets in the eighth over.
Nikhil Gangta (22), who was looking in good touch, was Tanush's first victim as he tried to smash a back of length delivery for a boundary but the ball failed to get the required elevation with Aman Hakim Khan taking a fine catch at deep midwicket.
Impact player Nitin Sharma was the next to go, as he departed for a first ball duck with Himachal slipping to 51 for 4 which became 52 for 5 in the next over.
Himachal lower order comprising of Akash Vasisht (25), Ekant Sen (37) and Mayank Dangar (21 not out) added 91 runs but failed to breach the 150-run mark.
Defending a modest total, medium pacer Rishi Dhawan (2/26) bowled a beautiful spell to get rid of the big-hitting Prithvi Shaw (11) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (1), who was trapped leg before.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (27) and Shreyas Iyer (34) steadied the innings but spinner Mayank Dagar (2/24) broke the 41-run partnership as the former sliced the ball to the deep cover fielder. Iyer, who slammed four boundaries and a six, then joined hands with Sarfaraz but as soon as the partnership started gathering momentum Vaibhav Arora (3/27) changed the complexion of the game claiming the former's wicket.
Led by Arora, Himachal bowlers then fashioned a mini batting collapse as Mumbai were suddenly down to 119 for 7. While wickets kept falling at the other end, Sarfaraz kept his calm, going about his work silently.
Ignored by national selectors time and again, Sarfaraz silenced his detractors as he showed extreme awareness and ability to execute shots. With Mumbai needing 23 off the last 12 balls, Sarfaraz smashed two fours and a maximum of the penultimate over to tilt the match in Mumbai's favour.
In the last over, tail-ender Tanush collected two runs off the first ball while the second delivery was a dot, increasing pressure. But Tanush dispatched a short delivery over the fence, sending the Mumbai team into frenzy and Himachal Pradesh into despair.