Smiles Back for Mumbai at Wankhede
By Krishnakumar K H | ENS | Published: 03rd May 2014 07:00 PM |
New opener C M Gautam and skipper Rohit Sharma laid the foundation, big-hitter Corey Anderson built on it and ace finisher Kieron Pollard powered through the home straight as defending champions Mumbai Indians registered their first win in six attempts this IPL.
Returning to their fortress of the Wankhede Stadium here, the hosts put an end to the unbeaten run of King’s XI Punjab with their five-wicket win on Saturday.
While it was not the most polished performance, coach John Wright and his high-profile support staff would only be delighted with the first points on the board.
Facing a tough ask coming into the last three overs, requiring 41 to overhaul Punjab's 168 for 5, it was Aditya Tare who provided the acceleration. He blasted L Balaji for a four and a six before Pollard proceeded to smash a 12-ball 28 to turn the match in Mumbai’s favour.
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King’s XI trump card Mitchell Johnson conceded 20 in the 19 over, before Pollard creamed Sandeep Sharma straight to set the stage for a lap of honour, led by Sachin Tendulkar and team owner Nita Ambani.
Earlier, Ben Dunk and C M Gautam, the fourth opening pair that MI have tried in six games, failed to provide them with the start they were looking for. But the wicketkeeper-batsman, Gautam, twice lofted elegant sixes off Sandeep Sharma to lay a platform for his teammates. First he cleared the extra cover fence and then two balls later, stepped out to find the mid-wicket stands.
Meanwhile, skipper Rohit pulled Johnson for a six after making a quiet beginning after number three Ambati Rayudu had fallen leg before to Sandeep for 8.
Gautam, on 22, escaped a run out chance, as point fielder David Miller and bowler Johnson failed to combine as Rohit send his partner back.
The duo had added 47 runs for the third wicket when former MI player Rishi Dhawan provided King’s XI the breakthrough, trapping Gautam who tried to paddle him reverse.
Anderson came on and struck three fours and a six off successive balls off left-arm spinner Akshar Patel in the 13 over that brought 20 runs to shift the momentum after Mumbai were looking shaky at 70 for 3.
The King’s XI innings was built around an unbeaten half-century (59) from Wriddhiman Saha and a stuttered 27-ball 45 from Glenn Maxwell.
Just when they looked set for an assault, MI bowlers struck crucial blows.
While Cheteshwar Pujara looked in superb touch during his 18-ball 19, playing a few classy cover drives, his teammates could not come to terms with the Mumbai attack.
After opening partner Virender Sehwag was run out for a solitary run in the third over off a direct hit from Rohit Sharma, Pujara raised hopes of that one big T-20 knock he has been looking for, but his own penchant for the cover drive cut short his stay.
“Mad Max” Glenn Maxwell came in at four, but his efforts at big hits mostly failed to find the middle of the bat, as the hosts varied their pace and line. On the one occasion that Malinga missed his length though, he pulled him for a six.
Later, he also deposited Harbhajan Singh straight but soon the wily off-spinner had his man, getting him to sky another attempted big hit into the hands of Ben Dunk who had to wait a long time to get his hands under the ball at long on.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Saha went about his job efficiently even as captain George Bailey looked to pick up the pieces. Saha flayed Kieron Pollard for two fours and a six before Harbhajan came into play again, claiming the Punjab skipper just as he appeared set to launch a final assault, with the total at 130 for 4 in the 16 over.
Saha reached his fifty in style picking up Zaheer for a maximum over square leg. The big-hitting left-hander David Miller didn’t have many balls to play with and was dismissed in the final over, a superb one from Lasith Malinga.