Mumbai made a bit of a meal of a modest chase, but ultimately came up trumps in Wednesday’s Indian Premier League clash against Pune at the Wankhede Stadium.
Chasing a paltry 119-run target across relatively easy batting conditions, the hosts inexplicably needed every delivery of their 20 overs to rack up a nail-biting seven wicket win.
It was all plain sailing when Sachin Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu were at the crease, as the familiar duo put on 74 for the second wicket at a canter.
The veteran and his sidekick were responsible for Mumbai’s last two successful run chases – against Delhi and Bangalore – and looked good for an easy third on the trot until Tendulkar holed out in the deep off the bowling of Rahul Sharma for 35.
With the former India captain dismissed for the first time in the tournament and Rayudu back in the hut for 35 soon thereafter, Pune were promptly in with a sniff.
Yuvraj rallied behind his slow bowlers to produce the goods for the visitors, with Rahul and Murali Kartik asked to deliver the final two overs of the match on the back of seamers Alfonso Thomas and Wayne Parnell’s closing throes.
11 runs need from 12 balls soon became five from six in the wake of leg-spinner Sharma’s miserly economy and Rohit Sharma (20 not out) and Andrew Symonds (16 not out) had it all to do.
The old adage of ‘snatching victory from the jaws of defeat’ as well as its vice-versa version hung in the balance as Kartik churned out his left-arm turn with precision for five deliveries, only to cough up a rank long-hop in spoiling it all.
Rohit was quick to oblige, and with one run required off one ball, went five better by cranking a six over cover to bring on belated triumph for the Mumbai Indians.
Earlier Robin Uthappa’s brisk 45 was as good as it got for Pune’s decision to bat first.
While four wickets across just eight balls decimated their top order, ducks from captain Yuvraj and Mithun Manhas compounded the Warriors’ torrid effort with the bat.
Man of the Match Munaf Patel was the pick of the bowlers with three scalps, while Lasith Malinga, Ali Murtaza and Abu Nechim chipped in with two scalps apiece.
Wednesday’s result saw Mumbai rise to second in the 10-man standings behind the Kolkata Knight Riders, while Pune are left to make do with fourth position. Cricket365