The batting line-up of Delhi that was boasted as one of the best in IPL found their batsmen running to pavilion after Mumbai gave a mammoth total of 218 to chase down. Mumbai Indians batting was up to their expectations on a flat Kotla pitch as their batsmen kept the runrate above 10 throughout the innings. The innings of Master and Saurabh Tiwary led the Mumbai batting as they form their highest IPL total.
Delhi already had a blow in the form of hamstring injury to their skipper who was not there on the field for the entire match and the herculean task of chasing down the huge total was on biggies. With Dilshan accompanying Sehwag as opener the pair looked like doing a miracle as they piled 33 runs from their first three overs. But the hope of winning went along with the off stump as Dilshan got bowled by a slow ball in Malinga’s second over.
Sehwag looked good during his short cameo, smashing four boundaries but when he holed out to Rayudu at long-off off Bravo’s bowling, the downslide began for the hosts. In a matter of next three overs and 24 runs, the Daredevils were staring down the barrel, losing half their side with 80 runs on the board.
The Mumbai bowlers seized the opportunity and tightened the screws on the Daredevils to skittle them for 120 with 3.4 overs to spare. While pacers Zaheer Khan and Malinga’s figures were spoiled by the early charge from Sehwag and Dilshan, the Caribbean duo of Bravo and Pollard made up for their failure with the bat by contributing with crucial wickets. Bravo was absolutely clinical as his two overs produced 11 runs with the precious wickets of Sehwag and de Villiers (11). Special mentioning about the 40-year old young man who gave just 17 runs in his four overs taking the wickets of Mithun Manhas and top-scorer Maharoof (28).
Farveez Maharoof did have some fun with the bat, clobbering Harbhajan for 17 runs in the 11th over by launching him twice into the straight boundary and driving him over extra-cover for a flat six. But it was too late by then and it was just a matter of time before Mumbai wrapped the Daredevils up to register a comprehensive victory.
The pitch was nothing like the minefield which forced the abandonment of the one-dayer between India and Sri Lanka a few months ago. Evenly paced, Tendulkar showed just how easy it was to get to the pitch and pick the gaps with deft touches and delicate clips. It was similar to the way he started his innings in Gwalior, where he scored a memorable 200, squirting the ball past the gaps effortlessly.
While both Tendulkar and Jayasuriya used the flick shot to a great effect, Tendulkar also treated the spectators with a couple of glorious square-cuts to the fence. But just when the veteran pair was racing away to a big total, substitute fielder Yogesh Nagar pulled off a beauty out of thin air to send the Matara mauler back into the hut to give Delhi and Maharoof the first wicket. Sacin brought up his fifty in just 23 balls with a paddle sweep past the short fine leg in the bowling of Mishra.
Significantly, Tiwary and Rayudu didn’t allow things to drift after Tendulkar departed in the bowling of Mishra. The over after his dismissal went for just three but the pair ensured they will not let the runrate fall down during their 71-run stand, in just short of seven overs. If Tendulkar was all nonchalance, Tiwary and Rayudu were all about brute power. Tiwary employed the slog sweep against the spinners, staying in the crease and muscling three sixes. Rayudu used his feet a lot more, regularly chipping down the track to clear the rope. Mishra tried firing it flatter and shorter with the hope of getting the ball to shoot through but the batsmen were alert enough to slap them away.
By the time Delhi dislodged the pair, Mumbai were already on 193 with a little more than two overs left. Promoting Tiwary and Rayudu over the two West Indians – Bravo and Pollard – had proved to be a productive move. The Caribbean duo combined to push the score to 218 – the highest in this tournament so far – which was more than enough to stamp their dominance.