MUMBAI: As the Mumbai Indians went out whining and kicking, their mentor Sachin Tendulkar oversaw the defeat. This of all days, was Tendulkar’s 44th birthday, with a vociferous Wankhede urging their team on.
But Mumbai fell to their first home defeat of the season, in a thriller against Rising Pune Supergiant on Monday night.In their eight games this season, Mumbai have lost only twice, both times against their rivals from Maharashtra. The visitors scored 160 for six and Mumbai fell three short.
As the momentum swung wildly, Mumbai looked within touching distance when they needed 24 runs from two overs, and still had captain Rohit Sharma out on the pitch. But Ben Stokes bowled a perfect death over, conceding only seven in the 19th.
The last over began with Hardik Pandya hitting Jaydev Unadkat to deep extra cover. But Stokes took a superb diving catch to cut his innings short. On the third ball, Rohit tried to step out to the off side, Unadkat followed him and pushed the ball wider. But the umpire refused to signal a wide, drawing the ire of Rohit, who went down the length of the pitch to argue.
The next ball, he took a wild horizontal-batted swing, the ball ballooning high in the air before Unadkat caught it on the second attempt. The door had been definitely shut on Mumbai.Captain Rohit scored a cracking 58 (39 balls, 6x4, 3x6) but could not take his team all the way. The only other significant contribution came from opener Parthiv Patel (33 off 27).
Earlier, Harbhajan Singh claimed his 200th T20 wicket and Karn Sharma made an impressive debut for the men in blue. Karn was the IPL’s costliest Indian buy this season and he finally got his maiden cap after Krunal Pandya was sidelined with injury.
He made his presence felt soon, dismissing the Pune openers, who were threatening to run away with the match.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi had added a brisk 76 for the first wicket. Rahane, the Mumbai boy known for his calm, stepped out and hit Mitchell Johnson over covers in the first over.
Him and Tripathi went about raking runs without a hint of recklessness. Rahane had notched up 38 off 32 balls when he spooned the ball straight back to Karn in the 10th over.
In the bowler’s next over, he had Tripathi (45 off 31) caught by Kieron Pollard near long-off. The leg-spinner, who bowled with great variety, could have claimed Steve Smith on the very next ball, but a running Harbhajan could not hold on to the catch.
Harbhajan, who ended up as the most economical bowler, got Smith in the next over. As the Australian captain, attempting a pull shot, missed the length of the ball and was bowled for 17.