Dwayne Bravo, Sachin Tendulkar star in Mumbai’s emphatic win

Dwayne Bravo’s sparkling unbeaten knock of 70 runs coupled with their spinners’ magical bowling kept Mumbai Indians in the race for a semifinal spot as they humbled Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in their Indian Premier League match here on Tuesday.

Mumbai spin trio of Harbhajan Singh (1/9), J P Duminy (2/15) and Ajinkya Rahane (1/5) wreaked havoc with their splendid spells and set the stage for the revenge win as they restricted Punjab to a paltry 119 for nine.

Sunny Sohal with his fearless 43-run knock was the top scorer for Punjab after Yuvraj Singh chose to bat at the Supersport park.

Mumbai’s chase began on shaky note with the failure of Sanath Jayasuriya (4) but Bravo, cashing in on a dropped chance, steered Mumbai to a comfortable win with his 59-ball knock, bejewelled with seven fours and three sixes.

With this win, Mumbai returned to the top-half of the points table.

Bravo, who was dropped on nought by Irfan Pathan on his own bowling in the second over of the innings, hit S Sreesanth for two huge sixes and two fours to begin the firework and then lofted Yuvraj for a massive six over the sight screen.

The West Indies batsman shared an unbeaten 82-run stand for the third wicket skipper Sachin Tendulkar, who provided good support to him with his unconquered 29-ball 41.

Punjab had beaten Mumbai early in the event.

Earlier, Mumbai spinners — led by Harbhajan Singh — did not give much chance to the Punjab batsmen to settle down on the turning track at the Supersport Park.

Harbhajan took just one wicket but with his economical spell — he gave away just nine runs in his four overs — he set the stage for the rest of the bowlers to knock the stuffing out of Punjab. He was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’.

Had opener Sohal not produced his blazing knock before gifting his wicket, Punjab would have struggled to reach the 100-run mark.

The Punjab script turned from bad to worse after five overs as their batsmen struggled to find ways to negotiate the slow bowlers. They lost wickets at regular intervals and in the process their run-rate nosedived.

It was a nightmarish start for Punjab as Simon Katich (0) miscued an on-drive off Dhawal Kulkarni and the leading edge ended up in the hands of Harbhajan Singh.

Irfan Pathan (0), promoted up the order, too departed without bothering the scorer as a terrible mix up with Sunny Sohal led to his run out.

Sohal was not all perturbed by the twin-blow as he hit three sixes on the off-side and played some elegant drives on the leg, taking good care of the run-rate.

However, his entertaining 23-ball knock ended when he carelessly stood out of the crease on Tendulkar’s misfield and the subsequent direct hit wrote his return, triggering a quick collapse.

Harbhajan ended Kumar Sangakkara’s agony when the wily off-spinner castled the Sri Lankan just before the strategic break, at which stage Punjab were 70 for four.

Duminy then sent shockwaves to the rival camp with his double strike in the 12th over, first removing Wilkin Mota (4) and then dangerous Yuvraj Singh (12).

Terrible running added to the woes of Punjab as three of their batsmen returned to hut after running themselves out.

With the big guns back to the hut, Karan Goel hit a patient and unbeaten 20 to take Punjab to 119.

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