Ambati Rayudu cracked an unbeaten 29-ball 55 as table-toppers Mumbai Indians put up a sterling all-round performance to virtually seal a semifinal berth beating holders Deccan Chargers by 63 runs in their Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.
Opting to bat, Mumbai Indians piled up a challenging 178 for five, thanks to Rayudu and youngster Saurabh Tiwary who made a 44 off 35 balls at the floodlit Brabourne Stadium.
The hosts then skittled out the Adam Gilchrist-led side for 115 in 18.2 overs, with left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan (2/10), Harbhajan Singh (2/16), Kieron Pollard (2/26) and Ryan McLaren (2/28) claiming two wickets apiece.
It was fifth straight defeat for the visiting team whose semifinal hopes receded further after this loss — their fifth in eight matches. The hosts, on the other hand, is almost through to the last-four with 14 points from eight games.
Chasing a challenging 179-run target, the defending champions simply caved in by losing wickets at regular intervals as the hosts registered their sixth straight win in the tournament.
Big overseas guns of Chargers — Gilchrist (19), Herschelle Gibbs (17) as well as Andrew Symonds (21) failed to fire once again while VVS Laxman (4) and Rohit Sharma (5) too flopped.
The home team bowlers stuck to their game plan and were backed up splendidly by their fielders.
Zaheer fired out Gilchrist and Gibbs, Laxman was run out, Symonds fell to McLaren, and Pollard accounted for Rohit and Monish Mishra in the successive overs.
Half the team was back in the dug-out by the end of the 12th over with the score reading 81 and the match was as good as over.
Later Harbhajan got two wickets in just three balls to hasten the end.