Mumbai give Delhi the blues


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Mumbai: When a 38-year old takes a diving catch off the first ball of an inning, and is hugged by a man he loved to hate a few years ago. It’s a story you won’t find on the scoreboard.

We are talking about Ricky Ponting and Harbhajan Singh. Though the Aussie didn’t fire as an opener, this flying effort to send back Unmukt Chand, provided the impetus, that ensured that the hosts would come out at the end with flying colours. Soon, Mahela Jayawardene made room with an intention to attack, only to find an edge flying to Dinesh Karthik. Bad start.

It would be chase that would turn into a maze.

Still, David Warner and Manprit Juneja ignored the fact that the target was growing on them, with some fine hits to and over the fence.  But once Warner had struck his fourth and final six, he was caught by Rayudu off  Johnson. 61 off 37 is a good effort. With this wicket in hand, all Mumbai had to do was chip away to ensure that they had two points in their bag.  Juneja was unlucky to be run out on 49, but with a losing cause, he can save the dream of pointing his bat at the dugout for a better night. Mumbai Indians would defeat the Delhi Daredevils by 44 runs.

It didn’t start that way.

Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat first, only to last five deliveries after walking out to bat. The Mumbai Indians skipper walked down the pitch to Irfan Pathan, only to lift the ball into counterpart Mahela Jayawardene’s hands at mid-off. Two balls later, the Sri Lankan ran Tendulkar out, after the batting ace took off for a run that didn’t exist at the non-striker’s end.

Ponting and Tendulkar gone. Mumbai Indians were feeling the blues.

Not for long. Dinesh Karthik, who had struck the ‘run out’ ball, put the past behind him and launched a counter-attack, with Rohit Sharma for company. The 27-year old drove like the night belonged to him, and pulled and flicked without any concern for the bowler’s reputation. On his way to picking up the orange cap, the right-hander tore apart Delhi’s bowling with a style and shuffle that is truly his. When he left, he had made 86 off just 48.

Mumbai weren’t going to take their foot off the accelerator.

Till Karthik was around, Rohit Sharma had been scoring at a brisk pace, but was restricted to playing second fiddle. This continued thanks to Ambati Rayudu. For, eight balls was all that the new batsman needed to make 24 runs, 21 of which came off 5 deliveries from Irfan Pathan. When he fell at Ashish Nehra’s hands, there were five deliveries remaining in the inning, and it is here that Rohit Sharma finished with flair, smashing three sixes to power Mumbai to 209/5.

It would be a total that would be more than enough.

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