Alviro Petersen top-scored for Highveld Lions with an unbeaten 27-ball 35 Getty Images (File Photo)

By Aayush Puthran

Sep 27, 2013

Highveld Lions managed to post 140 for five in their 20 overs against the Mumbai Indians in the Group A clash of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2013 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday.

The lush green cover on the pitch, rare in the country, was strikingly evident even from a distance as an impressed Wasim Akram lauded the groundsman for preparing such a pitch in a T20 game. The outfield too was quick, giving little chance to the fielders to race and stop it after it passed the inner circle.

The match got off to a troubled start as one of the floodlights went off right in the first over after five great deliveries by Mitchell Johnson was followed by a ball that took an awkward bounce to go over the wicketkeeper’s head and straight to the boundary fence behind him. That delivery also signaled that the pace bowlers were in for a good time. Rohit Sharma too ensured that at least one slip was stationed till the eighth over.

However, the Lions openers enjoyed a good time in the middle with the ball coming on to the bat easily and the fast outfield ensured that they got good returns for their shots. Fielders were left with little chance to stop the ball as crisp shots raced away to the boundary. The South African batsmen got best results from the ball that were pitched up and allowed them to drive.

Rassie van der Dussen was undone by a short delivery off Johnson as he mistimed a pull and failed to clear the square leg fielder. He was looking good at the crease during his knock of 13. By the end of the powerplay, they were 40 for one. The effect of the outfield could be gauged from the fact that Johnson had managed to bowl 12 dot balls off the first three overs he bowled, but gave away 27 runs from the other six balls. 

With spin introduced in the seventh over, it was Harbhajan Singh’s turn to enjoy the bounce present in the pitch. He soon trapped Quiton de Kock in front of the wicket with a straighter one. From theron, the Lions batsman lost the plot. Instead of using the conditions to their advantage, they continued to lose wickets by playing rash shots.

Rishi Dhawan, especially enjoyed a good spell in the middle. His first over was a maiden and later gave away 12 runs and picked up a wicket off his next two overs. Mumbai Indians had done well to curb Lions’ scoring rate as they managed to reach just 89 for five by the 15th over.

However it was Dwaine Pretorius who took charge from thereon to up the ante. First he hit a 103 meter six, the biggest in the competition so far, and also the 100th six of the tournament straight down the track and later followed it up with another off the last ball of the 16th over. He added a 50-run partnership in 33 balls with Alviro Petersen for company. They added 51 runs off the last five overs

One of the loudest cheers of the innings from the crowd came when Sachin Tendulkar ran hard towards his right at the third man to cut down a boundary to two. Co-incidentally, the save came just after Jonty Rhodes was saying over the microphone of how Indian Premier League has helped ‘young’ Indian cricketers to become good fielders.

Brief scores:

Highveld Lions 140 for 5 in 20 overs (Alviro Peterson 35, Dwaine Pretorius 31*; Pragyan Ojha 2 for 26) vs Mumbai Indians

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(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)