Wankhede Stadium is turning out to be one of Virender Sehwag's favourite venues. The last time the Nawab of Najafgarh played at this venue (where he along with his India teammates lifted the 2011 World Cup in April), Sehwag slammed a 58-ball 122 as Kings XI Punjab stormed into the Indian Premier League-7 (IPL) final beating Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 2.
Virender Sehwag en route his 19-ball 36. Pic/Suresh KK
In five IPL matches at the Wankhede Stadium, Sehwag has scored 160 runs. Yesterday, Sehwag brought back memories of 'Vintage Viru' during his quickfire 19-ball 36 against hosts Mumbai Indians. Sehwag, who was out for a duck in Kings XI Punjab's opening clash against Rajasthan Royals in Pune on Friday, did not disappoint the Wankhede crowd.
The cracking drive through cover on the third ball that he faced of the innings was good enough indication that he will show no mercy if the ball is in his hitting zone. In the next over, he slammed R Vinay Kumar for two fours and a six as Kings XI Punjab managed to take 17 runs off the third over.
Pawan Suyal thought banging it short may contain Sehwag, but the opener pulled it straight down over the bowler's head and managed to beat the mid-on and mid-off fielders for a boundary. Although he mistimed the pull, Sehwag was quick to bring his bottom hand into play for the extra power.
With Murali Vijay matching Sehwag's shot-by-shot, MI skipper Rohit Sharma brought in Lasith Malinga. But even the Sri Lankan pacer could not keep Sehwag quiet. Making use of his wrists, Sehwag whacked an outside off ball towards the midwicket boundary as he raced to 30 off 15 balls. The boundary off the next ball was even better as Sehwag once gain put his wrist to good work as the ball raced away towards the square leg boundary.
Punjab's co-owner Preity Zinta was clearly pumped up as she swayed and danced at every run coming off Sehwag's blade. Just when he looked set for a big innings, Harbhajan Singh managed to crack the code to dismiss Sehwag. He looked in no control while trying to loft the ball. Kieron Pollard stationed at long-on isn't one to miss such easy catch.