Rohit Sharma is bound to lose a few fans in Mumbai. The Borivali boy pulled off a hat-trick at the chilly Centurion to bring about the downfall of Mumbai Indians after they had looked well set to notch up their fourth win of the tournament.
JP Duminy and Abhishek Nayar seemed to be taking Mumbai home when Nayar missed the line of an innocuous Rohit delivery to find his stumps uprooted.
Harbhajan got out the very next ball, but Mumbai Indians still hoped that they will go across the line with Duminy at the crease.
But in the first ball of the 18th over, the South African superstar tried a sweep shot which caught his gloves and rested into Adam Gilchrist’s hand.
Rohit, who merely has two wickets in first-class cricket, didn’t know how to celebrate the rare feat as all his teammates converged on him.
The part-time offie removed Saurabh Tiwary in the same over and Team Hyderabad were right back in contention with a 19-run win after three straight losses.
Sharma (38) did his job with the bat as well after Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Gilchrist were knocked over cheaply by the Mumbai bowlers. He didn’t lose his cool even as wickets fell around him and took his team to a total which could give them a chance to fight on a track which was doing just a bit.
Once Mumbai came on to bat, it was imperative for either Sanath Jayasuriya or Sachin Tendulkar to fire. But RP Singh justified his selection in the Indian T20 World Cup team as he moved the ball around to make things tough for the two masters. Jayasuriya got out slashing one well outside the off-stump while Tendulkar was bowled by a sharp inswinger.
But Duminy looked like taking his team to the target despite the initial hiccups. With hardly any bite in the Hyderabad bowling after RP was taken off, it wasn’t too difficult for South African stylist to keep the scoreboard ticking. But all that changed around in a matter of three balls from Rohit.
Earlier, the Mumbai Indians bowlers did their job well to restrict Team Hyderabad. Dhawal Kulkarni pitched one up to induce an edge off Gibbs in the second over and Hyderabad were firmly on the backfoot.
Gilchrist gambled with T Suman at No. 3 and it seemed to be paying off for a while with the right-hander hitting a couple of big sixes off Harbhajan Singh. But then, that didn’t last too long as Bravo pitched one a touch short and forced the youngster to edge it to the wicketkeeper.