Eyeing a thumping win with the run-rate permutations hovering above them, Mumbai Indians got what they wanted as Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to field. On one hand Perth had nothing much to lose whereas Mumbai had their plans neatly drawn. Keeping in mind the stiff chase they will face, Mumbai chose to field a team which could give them a winning chance. Hence they chose to drop Mitchell Johnson for all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who could bring his big-hitting skills in play and the part-time spin on the slow pitch.
As predicted of the Kotla pitch, the Mumbai skipper used three spinners inside the first 10 overs in the form of Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Maxwell. The bowlers gave nothing away maintaining a tight length. In an act of desperation Agar even tried to scoop once but failed miserably as the ball was pitched way away from off stump and it was called a wide.
The first opportunity of the day came through Glenn Maxwell who bowled a wide one but Dinesh Karthik failed to grab the simple stumping chance as Ashton Agar had hopped down at least three yards away from him. The missed chance didn’t hurt much as Ojha struck twice in the next over to send back the openers. Agar, yet again walking down the track failed to cover the pitched up delivery and the stumps were disturbed. Katich too found himself walking back soon not able to reach the pitch of the ball to see his leg stump disturbed.
Karthik was a bit sloppy behind the stumps conceding a few byes. On a slowish pitch it would have been ideal to keep low as a lot of balls passed between his legs.
Debutant Whiteman along with Hilton Cartwright then accumulated some runs at a quick rate. Every boundary that came the Scorchers’ way dented Mumbai’s chances. The partnership flourished with a fifty partnership coming in five overs and thanks to an 18-run over by Harbhajan, the pressure was soon mounting on the bowlers. Nathan Coulter-Nile finally brought some relief with a double strike. He first pitched a perfect yorker to bowl Cartwright for 28. New man Ashton Turner returned for a first-ball duck caught leg-before trying to shuffle across. The twin-strikes slowed down considerably.
The knack of bowling was evident as the even the pacers dropped down their pace making it difficult to hit on the up and attack the bowlers. Coulter-Nile was pick of the bowlers for Mumbai bagging three for 19 in his four overs.
(Abhijit Banareis a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed onTwitterandblog)