Report: Match 3 – MI v PWI
Mumbai, April 6: With Sachin Tendulkar sitting out Mumbai Indians’ first home game, Pune Warriors India had the advantage over their top-billed neighbours even before a ball was bowled. Sourav Ganguly’s side made sure they made the bonus count, inflicting a 28-run defeat over their heavyweight neighbours in front of the latter’s home crowd.
After MI won the toss and elected to bowl, their yorker-specialist Lasith Malinga struck early, bowling Manish Pandey in the first over of the innings. PWI skipper Sourav Ganguly was the next to go, stumped off MI skipper Harbhajan Singh, leaving the visitors tottering at 15 for two. And with Wayne Parnell bowled by Munaf Patel soon after, the going was rough for PWI.
Callum Ferguson and Robin Uthappa brought some stability to the innings, but it was shortlived. Ferguson, who was dropped by Harbhajan Singh on 12, was run out by the feisty Rohit Sharma off the next ball. Uthappa, however, carried on regardless, adding valuable runs to the score. His innings, largely made up of singles in partnership with Steve Smith, included two consecutive boundaries off James Franklin. But when Uthappa fell on 36, caught and bowled by Kieron Pollard, PWI received another setback.
Smith held one end up even as he lost Marlon Samuels and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in quick succession. No. 9 batsman Murali Kartik brought a sudden burst of cheer to the visitors’ fans, hitting a four and a six in the first over he faced. Smith too gathered another couple of boundaries, ending his useful innings on 39. A couple of deliveries later, Kartik too was dismissed, via a run out, and PWI’s innings closed on 129 for nine.
Pune Warriors India stormed into the second innings, dismissing the top three Mumbai Indians batsmen in a jiffy. MI’s opening game hero – Richard Levi – was out to Murali Kartik off just the second delivery of the innings, putting the hosts on the back-foot early in the chase. The second over, bowled by Ashoke Dinda, saw the back of both, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma, leaving the hosts reeling at 5 for three.
James Franklin and Dinesh Karthik, however, brought some much-needed sanity to proceedings, stringing together a valuable partnership for MI. Singles and twos were the order of the day, even as the occasional boundary kept the required run-rate in check. After ten overs were bowled, the equation read 82 required off 60 with seven wickets in hand – a credible prospect by T20 standards.
Murali Kartik impeded the chase, having Dinesh Karthik stumped just when the partnership looked like it would go the distance. Franklin, unfazed by his partner’s departure, hit a mood-lifting six off B Kumar. But next man in Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed on 0, handing the visitors back the advantage.
With Pollard joining Franklin at the crease, 56 runs off 30 balls seemed well within reach. But when Rahul Sharma pierced through the defence of Pollard in the last ball of his spell, MI were grievously wounded. Harbhajan Singh renewed the hosts’ hopes with a straight drive off Samuels that raced away for four.
Franklin’s solid innings came to an end on 32, the batsman dismissed thanks to a great catch in the deep off Dinda. It was then just the matter of some disciplined bowling as MI went all out in pursuit of the tall target. Parnell got the better of Malinga in the penultimate over, bringing Ojha to the crease. Bhajji went down fighting, striking a four before falling on 16 to Dinda in the last over. The hosts finally conceded defeat, 28 runs short of the innocuous target.
Man of the Match: Steve Smith for a useful lower-order innings of 39 off 32 that helped PWI reach a respectable, and eventually, match-winning score