Action in images | Scorecard| Finger still not looking good: Tendulkar
Rohit Sharma anchored Mumbai Indians' chase of 139 against Deccan Chargers brilliantly at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Monday night as Dale Steyn ended on the losing side despite a brilliant bowling performance. Mumbai Indians needed 18 runs to win from the last over of the match bowled by Dan Christian, but Rohit hit two sixes, including one in the last delivery to steal a five-wicket win for his team and get them back to winningw ays.
There was also a hint of controversy in the dismissal of Deccan Chargers' captain Kumar Sangakkara; but despite that unfortunate event, this was the kind of match the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League desperately needed.
Steyn gave the Chargers the perfect start when he brilliantly caught T Suman off his own bowling and then bowled an excellent maiden over to his South African counterpart Richard Levi before clean bowling him with a swinging yorker to leave Mumbai Indians tottering at 10 for 2 after four overs. The fourth over of Mumbai Indians' innings bowled by Steyn saw him showcase his wide range of deliveries including good length, slow ones, bouncers and a slightly short delivery. The young left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma (0-18) also kept things tight at the other end and conceded only nine runs in his first three overs.
The introduction of Christian into the attack though eased the pressure on Mumbai Indians as Rohit hit him for a boundary and a massive six over deep extra cover in his first over that cost the Chargers 14 runs. Rohit was also lucky when on 23, his attempted heave over midwicket off an Anand Rajan delivery just evaded a diving Steyn at third man.
Rohit and Ambati Rayudu (19) added 48 runs in 7.2 overs for the third wicket to get Mumbai Indians' chase back on track before the latter was caught at fine leg by Shikhar Dhawan off Amit Mishra's bowling. At this stage, Mumbai Indians was 58 for 3 in the 12th over and were well behind the required rate.
Kieron Pollard gave the Mumbai Indians' innings the much-needed impetus with his 18-ball 24, which included three massive sixes, but his knock was ended by Christian who had the West Indies all-rounder caught by Dhawan at deep mid-off. Pollard though had to face a torrid over from Steyn - the 15th of Mumbai Indians' innings. While Pollard was hitting the big shots, Rohit was content rotating the strike and keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Rohit (73* from 50 deliveries) shifted gears in the last three overs of the match with his team needing 37 runs to win as he hit Mishra for two massive sixes, the first of which brought up his half-century from 41 deliveries. Steyn bowled the 19th over of Mumbai Indians' innings and conceded only four runs and took the wicket of Dinesh Karthik to end with spectacular figures of 4-1-12-3 as he gave an exhibition of world-class fast bowling.
With 18 runs needed from the last over, James Franklin took six runs off the first two deliveries bowled by Christian (1-49) before Rohit hit two sixes to win the match and save the blushes for his team. Mumbai Indians had 50 dot deliveries in their chase, and the defensive-minded tactic almost cost them the match.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians took wickets at regular intervals and didn't allow Deccan Chargers' batsmen to get any sort of momentum as the hosts were restricted to a sub-par total of 138 for 9. Sangakkara, who had missed his team's thumping loss against Chennai Super Kings because of his involvement in Sri Lanka's Test series against England, elected to bat.
Apart from Sangakkara, Chargers also brought in Anand Rajan and Amit Mishra with Daniel Harris, Manpreet Gony and TP Sudhindra all missing out. Mumbai Indians made only one change to their team with Suman replacing Suryakumar Yadav, as Sachin Tendulkar was forced to sit out for a second consecutive match because of his injured finger.
At the toss, Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh had said he wanted to restrict the Chargers to 150, and he led from the front and was well supported by the other bowlers, who all kept a tight check on the flow of runs.
Harbhajan opened the bowling and conceded only four runs in his first two overs, and the pressure that he exerted benefitted Munaf Patel at the other end, as he took the first two wickets to fall. Munaf first had Parthiv Patel caught by Rohit at first slip, who took a juggling catch; and then had Bharat Chipli caught by Lasith Malinga at mid-on as the Chargers slipped to 9 for 2 inside four overs.
The fall of wickets at the other end didn't deter Dhawan though as he took the attack to the Mumbai Indians' bowlers and was especially severe on Pragyan Ojha, who he hit for two sixes and a four as the left-arm spinner conceded 18 runs in his first over. But, just when it appeared that Dhawan, who made a 24-ball 41 (2x4 and 4x6), was set for the long haul and take the game away from Mumbai Indians, an attempted hoick off Malinga's bowling only resulted in the leading edge being well caught by Kieron Pollard at extra cover. Chargers coach Darren Lehmann was shown having a chat in the dugout with Dhawan, who during the course of his innings became the 23rd batsman in IPL history to cross the 1000-run mark, after his dismissal.
Sangakkara found the going tough against Harbhajan, but Christian, who was promoted to No. 4 in the order, kept the scoreboard ticking over as he picked out Pollard for special treatment. The 36-run partnership between Sangakkara (14) and Christian though ended in controversy when the Chargers' captain was clean bowled by Munaf. Sangakkara attempted to drive a full delivery, but dragged the ball onto the stumps; however square leg umpire Johan Cloete of South Africa ruled the ball had come off wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik's pads. And, then in a startling breach of the cricket spirit, Munaf and Harbhajan got into a prolonged argument with the umpires and ultimately forced them into asking for a
referral, following which Sangakkara had to walk back to the dugout.
Christian (39 from 36 balls) and Cameron White then added 41 runs in 5.3 overs for the fifth wicket to give the much-needed impetus to the Chargers' innings, but Munaf came back to dismiss the burly Australian all-rounder and take his fourth wicket as the momentum in the innings was lost yet again. The Chargers scored only 42 runs but lost five wickets in the last five overs of their innings as Malinga and Pollard also got among the wickets; White was left stranded on a 22-ball 30*. In all, there were 52 dot deliveries in the
Munaf (4-20) was the pick of the Mumbai Indians' bowlers, while Malinga took 3-27 and Pollard chipped in with 2-33; Harbhajan didn't take any wickets but had exceptional figures of 4-0-18-0.