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The ‘Maharashtra derby’ fizzled out into a no-contest as Mumbai Indians bossed over Pune Warriors by 41 runs on Saturday. Electing to bat the home team posted 184, thanks to some lusty hitting by Rohit Sharma (62*), Sachin Tendulkar (44) and Dinesh Karthik (41), after which Aussie left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson (3/33) wrecked the chase by clean bowling the Warriors' openers - the hard-hitting Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa - with virtually nothing on the board.
It wasn’t only Johnson who played a part. Ross Taylor, promoted to No.3, contributed by being foolishly run-out. Finch and Uthappa were done in by the classical in-swinging left-armer’s delivery, and Tirumalasetti Suman, having gained a rash of boundaries on pure bravado, holed out to long-on when Harbhajan Singh tossed it up.
At 38/4 within the Powerplay Pune were out for the count. But Yuvraj Singh was still in there. The southpaw looked in ominous touch when he struck towering sixes against Kieron Pollard and Rishi Dhawan, but was out when another sweetly-timed shot off the former found Dhawan at deep mid-wicket.
Skipper Angelo Mathews' wicket signalled the end and Pune went down fighting with a spate hits towards the end from the blade of young Aussie Mitchell Marsh. The visitors were restricted to 142/8 in their 20, as Mumbai surged to the top of the table.
Tendulkar (44) set the tone for Mumbai with four consecutive boundaries - including a trademark backfoot punch through the off-side - against Dinda, who eventually returned figures off 0/63 off four overs, the joint worst in IPL history. Tendulkar, however, could have been out in the first over when his leading edge fell just short of Pune’s surprise opening bowler, the left-arm spinner Finch.
The maestro made the drop count and heaved Rahul Sharma over mid-wicket for maximum. Tendulkar dominated the brisk 51-run opening stand before Ricky Ponting perished on Yuvraj's first delivery of the match.
Yuvraj had earlier dropped a straightforward catch of Tendulkar at mid-on and let the shot through for four. As if to make up for that, his slow bowling tied Mumbai down and got the first breakthrough in the form of Ponting. Tendulkar also fell to the slower ball, going after Finch to be held at the long-on boundary by a tumbling Mitchell Marsh.
Rohit, Karthik fire
Mumbai then orchestrated another fifty stand as the in-form Karthik hit a breakneck 41, with four fours and a six swung casually over mid-wicket off Mathews. Karthik played chief aggressor to a subdued Rohit before departing leg-before to the young Aussie quick Marsh.
But Sharma soon changed gears and ushered in Mumbai’s most prolific period. His last 45 runs came in just 15 balls. Dinda was taken apart with consecutive sixes when he returned for his second spell and two more were smashed when the Bengal medium pacer bowled the last of the innings.
Rohit’s fifty took just 30 balls and he added 68 in 4.5 overs with Kieron Pollard. Mumbai’s 184 was already a stiff target and Johnson’s strikes then ensured that the chase was never on.