By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mumbai: Apr 9, 2013
After being rocked early during their innings, Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma batted brilliantly to take Mumbai to 209. David Warner and Manpreet Juneja fought hard during Delhi’s run chase, but the mountain was too tall to climb.
Ricky Ponting won the toss again and elected to bat first in Mumbai’s first home game. Lasith Malinga’s return bolstered Mumbai and they dropped Munaf Patel. Rishi Dhawan, the young Himachal Pradesh all-rounder came in for Dwayne Smith. Delhi too made their fair share of changes. Morne Morkel, Jeevan Mendis and Kedar Jadhav replaced Andre Russell, Johan Botha and Naman Ojha.
Mumbai got off to a horrible start as they lost both Ponting and Sachn tendulkar with only one run on the board. However, Dinesh Karthik’s great form continued as he eased the pressure on Mumbai. His strokeplay was simply scintillating as he took on the fast-bowlers fearlessly and dealt with the spinners with disdain.
Throughout the innings, Karthik showed great technique against the short ball and pulled very well for a few boundaries. There were also a few deft strokes on display as he merely used the pace to guide the ball along. It looked like he would get to his century, but was dismissed by Morkel on 86.
Meanwhile, Rohit took his time in the centre and consumed as many as 10 balls to get off the mark. However, as the innings progressed, he got into his stride and shifted gears towards the end. Kieron Pollard too contributed with a short cameo.
Ambati Rayudu made a significant impact in the slog overs with an eight ball 24. Rohit then smashed three sixes in the final over to see Mumbai breeze past the 200 mark.
Delhi had the tough task of chasing 210, particularly because of the fact that they missed Virender Sehwag. They got off to a horrendous start as Unmukt Chand was dismissed by Harbhajan Singh off the first ball of the innings. Ponting took a magnificent catch to send Chand packing as he was almost parallel to the ground as he held on to the ball. Harbhajan and Ponting hugged to celebrate. A few years ago, who would have thought that was possible?
It could have become tougher for Delhi as skipper Mahela Jayawardene was given a lease of life when Malinga dropped a skier in the same over.
That reprieve didn’t cost Mumbai too much as Mitchell Johnson had Jayawardene caught behind in the third over as he charged, trying to make room and hit through the off-side. Delhi were in serious trouble at 13 for two.
Manprit Juneja joined David Warner and they took the attack to Mumbai. Warner was hitting the ball well and made his intentions clear by lofting Harbhajan into the stands early on. Juneja’s two straight drives off Johnson were a joy to watch as they raced along to the boundary.
Warner and Juneja hit a few boundaries and were also rotating the strike. Delhi’s fifty came in the seventh over and Warner smashed Pragyan Ojha for a huge six over mid-wicket immediately thereafter. The visitors were gradually upping the ante after the early jolts.
Juneja was showing his class with a few well executed strokes. On the other hand, Warner played with his typical power and raced to his fifty in the tenth over — where he smashed Pollard for a six and a four. At the half-way mark, Delhi were 84 for two. Mumbai were 80 for two at a similar stage during their innings and some might say there wasn’t much to choose. However, chasing is always a different ball-game as the pressure is intense.
Warner was getting into his zone as he welcomed Johnson with a four through long-on in the 11th over. He then moved across his stumps and carted Johnson over fine-leg into the second tier. Just when it looked like Warner would go berserk, Johnson had him caught by Ambati Rayudu at deep point. Mumbai breathed a huge sigh of relief.
That dismissal turned the tide completely in Mumbai’s favour. Jeevan Mendis got a golden duck on his IPL debut as Pollard caught him off his own bowling. Those double-blows effectively ended Delhi’s fight as they slowed down drastically.
The asking rate shot up and it was too much for the remaining batsmen. Juneja held on and extended his innings, but there wasn’t much he could do.As Delhi kept losing wickets, he was moving to his fifty. However, he fell agonisingly short of the mark as he was run-out on 49.
Morkel entertained with a cameo towards the end, but Mumbai were never troubled. They romped home to a 44 run victory.
Karthik had now donned the Orange Cap. Mumbai have moved to the top of the table. Early days in the tournament, but positive signs for them. Delhi have to go back to the drawing board.
Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 209 for 5 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 86, Rohit Sharma 74*; Ashish Nehra 2 for 49, Irfan Pathan 1 for 37) beat Delhi Daredevils 165 for 9 in 20 overs (David Warner 61, Manprit Juneja 49; Pragyan Ojha 2 for 34, Kieron Pollard 2 for 35) by 44 runs.
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