Trust the T20 format to throw up new stars every evening. On Saturday at the Wankhede, there were a few unlikely heroes in a match that kept changing like mood swings. Chargers skipper Kumar Sangakkara would have least expected Dhaval Kulkarni to be the one tormenting his batsmen after winning the toss and electing to bat. Sure, Lasith Malinga, as always, gave the hosts an early breakthrough – he castled Michael Lumb with the second delivery of his and MI’s first over – but it was the four-match-old Kulkarni who saw the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians restrict the visitors to 135-6.
Deccan would have struggled to reach 135, had it not been for another unlikely hero, leggie Amit Mishra (better known for his bowling exploits) who slammed a 6-ball 18 to help Chargers steal 23 runs off the final over and some respectability to the total.
The day, though, belonged to the unusual suspects. First, Kulkarni accounted for the Deccan Chargers skipper Sangakkara, having him caught by Kieron Pollard at cover point for 27. He later got rid of Bharat Chipli for 10 and finally castled Dan Christian when he was batting on 18. Kulkarni ended with figures of 4-0-26-3. In between the dismissals of Christian and Sangakkara, though, Mumbai Indians bowlers had gotten rid of opener Sunny Sohal (20) and Jean Paul Duminy (8).
In short, the hosts maintained a tight leash on their opponents and never really allowed them to build a partnership. Eventually, Mumbai Indians were left to score a modest 136 for a win.
Mumbai’s chase began with a stutter. They lost opener Aiden Blizzard for 1. Then the in-form Ambati Rayudu (2) got out to a stroke, which if executed well, looks flashy and bold, but if mistimed, looks absolutely imprudent. Rayudu attempted to leg-glance speedster Ishant Sharma to the fine-leg boundary. Both the timing and the shot were attempted too early in the innings. Rohit Sharma (4) fell to a brilliant away going delivery from Ishant.