It was dubbed as the Maha Derby, the fight between State’s two biggest cricketing cities. It was compared to the Manchester derby played in the English Premier League earlier this week. Just going by the scorecard, it was a game where not even 250 runs were scored in two innings. But one had to be at the stadium to believe that even a 120-run chase can be as thrilling as a 200-plus chase.
On a pitch that can’t exactly be described as a belter, Pune Warriors India made a meal of a 121-run target, before a 47-run partnership between skipper Sourav Ganguly (16 runs, 23 balls) and Mithun Manhas (48 runs, 45 balls) saw them get close to the finish line, which they failed to cross by a single run in the end.
A brilliant second spell by Lasith Malinga, in which the Sri Lankan conceded just 13 runs and got the wickets of Ganguly and Wayne Parnell, turned the game on its head, which saw the Harbhajan Singh led outfit keep their third position in the points table intact, and pushed Pune Warriors India in a must-win situation from here on.
The Mumbai Indians innings was all about momentum, first gaining it, and then losing it at an important time. With Sachin Tendulkar well set, having scored a near run-a-ball 34, the visitors looked well set for a 150-plus score.
But once the Master Blaster was removed by Ashish Nehra on the last ball of the 12th over, the MI innings just never recovered from it. Such was the control of Pune Warriors India bowlers on a slow and low wicket, that there was no boundary hit between the 11th and the 18th over. Four run outs didn’t help Mumbai Indians’ cause either, especially with Rohit Sharma being one of them.
For PWI, it was a story of an incredible comeback by Nehra. Having gone for 14 runs in his first over, the left-arm pacer conceded just five runs from his remaining three, and got the priceless wicket of Tendulkar, before removing Robin Peterson to finish with figures of 2-19. Altogether, 14 of the 20 overs bowled by PWI went for six or less runs.
Mumbai Indians: J Franklin c Manhas b Kumar 25, S Tendulkar c Uthappa b Nehra 34, R Sharma run out 3, R Peterson c Ganguly b Nehra 13, D Karthik not out 18, A Rayudu b Kumar 1, T Perera run out 0, H Singh c Parnell b Dinda 0, L Malinga run out 14, Pragyan Ojha run out 1; Extras: (B-1, LB-3, W-5, NB-2) 11; Total (for 9 wickets in 20 overs) 120 Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-56, 3-81, 4-88, 5-92, 6-93, 7-93, 8-119, 9-120; Bowling: Kartik 3-0-27-0, Dinda 4-1-34-1, Parnell 4-0-18-0, Kumar 3-0-9-2, Nehra 4-0-19-2, Clarke 2-0-9-0
Pune Warriors: R Uthappa lbw Patel 18, J Ryder c Perera b Harbhajan 9, M Clarke lbw Harbhajan 14, S Ganguly b Malinga 16, S Smith b Ojha 2, M Manhas not out 42, W Parnell c Peterson b Malinga 2, M Manhas not out 42. Extras: (W-6) Total (for 6 wickets in 20 overs) 119. Fall of wickets 1-20, 2-40, 3-44, 4-47, 5-94, 6-105. Bowling: Malinga 4-0-25-2, M Patel 4-0-24-1, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-18-2, P Ojha 4-0-24-1, J Franklin 3-0-20-0, T Perera 1-0-8-0