By Suneer Chowdhary
Mumbai: May 14, 2011
One would have thought that with the pedigree associated with the Mumbai Indians batting, a target of 136 against the tenth-placed Deccan Chargers would have been fairly simple to achieve. It was a track that turned a little more than one has seen at Wankhede and much like in the game against the Rajasthan Royals, the Mumbai Indians struggled to pace the innings through.
The Mumbai Indians innings stuttered and stalled and never managed to recover from the early loss of wickets and the spinning pitch, to lose their second successive game in the IPL this season.
Defending 136, the Chargers opened their bowling with JP Duminy, who stuck in the third over of the innings. The ball spun viscously and had Aiden Blizzard swinging into the leg-side, only to miss it completely and be bowled.
Ambati Rayadu scored two before having his leg-stump rolled over by Ishant Sharma before Rohit Sharma nicked one from the same bowler to the wicket-keeper.
The loss of three wickets within the first six overs for only 25 pegged the Mumbai Indians back enough to make Sachin Tendulkar think about how he needed to bat.
Risks were eschewed by both Tendulkar and Andrew Symonds and the building pressure of the asking rate made life difficult.
Symonds patted away 18 deliveries for his eight before a lofted shot off Amit Mishra had him spoon the ball to long-off and the wheels seemed to have gone off the chase with Mumbai Indians at 54 for four in 11.2 overs.
The required rate had gone up to more than 10 at this stage. A new batsman at the crease only added the runs to the asking rate and while T Suman did smash a couple of sixes, there were 10 other dot balls off his bat. This included one that had him attempt to loft the ball from new-comer Anand Rajan and fall to a fairly simple catch down the boundary.
The bigger wicket was that of Tendulkar, who, without any support at the other end, had struggled through to a 42-ball 37. Rajan had him lbw and the Mumbai Indians fate had been all but sealed.
Mumbai Indians had been choked by the Chargers spinners, who conceded a combined total of only 37 runs from the 10 overs they bowled. Ojha conceded 16 from his four, Mishra went for 18 while Duminy’s two overs cost him only three.
By the time Kieron Pollard and Harbhajan Singh had notched 16 runs in the penultimate over from Ishant, the Mumbai Indians were 26 short with an over to go.
Pollard did raise the Mumbai Indians hopes with a six and a four off the first three balls of the last over from Rajan, but the bowler kept his nerve to win his side the game by 10 runs.
Deccan Chargers had earlier struggled through 19 overs of their batting. The run-rate never touched six for those 19 overs and when they had lost Daniel Christian in the 19th over, the side were struggling at 104 for six.
It was the last over of the innings that seemed to have turned the momentum in favour of the Deccan Chargers.
Shikhar Dhawan, sent down the order at the number seven position slammed the first ball from Munaf Patel for a six before Mishra hooked, flicked, cut and pulled four boundaries respectively off success deliveries. 23 had come from the last over and Mumbai Indians needed to get to 136 to win the game.
Dhawal Kulkarni had ripped through the heart of the Deccan Chargers batting as he first sent Sangakkara back when he tried to get things moving after the Powerplay overs. Later, he had Bharat Chipli and Dan Christian dismissed as well t break the Chargers back.
Deccan Chargers, who are already out of the contention for the playoffs in the IPL made a couple of changes to their side by getting in Michael Lumb and Anand Rajan for Dale Steyn and DB Ravi Teja. Mumbai went into the side unchanged.
Lumb lasted two balls for his duck and the poor start meant that the Chargers lost many of their overs in consolidation alone.
Fortunately for the Chargers, the 53 that came from the last five overs seemed to have made all the difference.
Brief Scores: DC 135 for 6 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 27, Shikhar Dhawan 27*, Sunny Sohal 20; Dhawal Kulkarni 3 for 26, Lasith Malinga 1 for 17, Kieron Pollard 1 for 10) bt MI 125 for 8 in 20 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 37; Anand Rajan 3 for 27, Ishant Sharma 2 for 30, JP Duminy 1 for 3, Amit Mishra 1 for 18) by 10 runs.
Man of the Match: Amit Mishra
(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at email@example.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)