T20 matches are usually about who can score the more runs but on Monday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium it was different. The competition seemed to be about who would score less.
If Trinidad & Tobago collapsed from 52 for two to 98 all out, Mumbai Indians went one better, reducing themselves to 37 for five at the halfway mark of their innings.
Only the really slim target allowed MI to get out of jail as they eventually won off the last ball with a wicket to spare. The pitch was well laid out with decent bounce, no lateral movement nor any great turn. Both quicks and spinners on either side held sway, so basically it was just poor batting from both sides, with the highest partnership being all of 32 runs, between Ambati Rayudu (36; 47b, 3×4) and R Sathish for the sixth wicket. That partnership eventually decided the winner of the contest.
A six by Lasith Malinga in the last over, when 10 were needed off five deliveries, seemed to have sealed the issue but two run outs, including that of Rayudu, complicated the issue before a desperately run brace off the final ball gave MI another famous win.
Who would have thought such a close contest would come about after T&T batted as poorly as they did? As usual it was Malinga who started the wicket-fest. The T&T openers Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath had raised 18 from the first two overs, including 10 off Malinga’s opening over. But as it turned out, it was a mirage. After a slowish yorker got the better of Barath, Simmons committed the cardinal sin of not grounding his bat and paid the penalty.
Sensing that it could be a good time to come on, Harbhajan seized the opportunity and grabbed the ball for himself. Darren Bravo may have greeted him with a six but thereafter it was Harbhajan who was doing the laughing.
Three wickets from his four-over spell, including that of the left-handed Bravo, put MI on top. For T&T the final outcome would have been heartbreaking, especially for their pacer Ravi Rampaul who sent down an initial spell of 3-0-13-3 and came back at the death to concede a mere four runs in the penultimate over. Alas, he couldn’t bowl at both ends.