Skipper Rohit Sharma inspired Mumbai Indians to put up a brilliant display in the field as they beat Punjab by 4 runs on Monday.
MUMBAI, A.29: Rohit Sharma played a captain’s innings and was backed up ably by his bowlers and fielders as Mumbai Indians beat Kings XI Punjab by 4 runs in their Pepsi Indian Premier League at the Wankhede stadium on Monday.
Mumbai’s cricketers put up a superb effort in the outfield taking some brilliant catches to restrict Punjab to bowl out 170 from their allotted 20 overs.
Punjab came very close to winning, but missed it by a whisker. For the visitors, David Miller was again the star, top-socring with 56. His innigns was studded with 5 sixes and one boundary.
For a change, the Wankhede Stadium crowd was not chanting ‘Sachin-Sachin’, but ‘Rohit-Rohit’ as the Mumbai Indians skipper slammed an unbeaten 79 in just 39 balls.
Earlier, Sharma smashed a blistering unbeaten 79 off 39 balls to power Mumbai Indians to a challenging 174 for three after a sluggish start.
Sharma, standing in for regular skipper Ricky Ponting who opted out for the third match running, struck six sixes and as many fours in his devastating knock to take Mumbai from 43 for two in the eighth over to a big score.
The innings will be long remembered by the Mumbai stalwart since it was played on the eve of his 26th birthday. His childhood coach Dinesh Lad was present (for the first time at the venue) to witness his ward’s IPL performance.
Rohit, who struck his fourth half-century in nine matches, was in ominous touch as he cut, pulled and drove with elan. Mumbai Indians were slow off the blocks, but were on track thanks to Rohit, who played some memorable strokes along the ground as well as over the ropes. It was a perfect mix of power and style.
Till the 11th over, MI were scoring just below six runs an over at 65-2. But Rohit single-handedly upped the tempo. Punjab were shoddy in the field. Had they not dropped catches and missed a stumping, it would have been a different story. A few half-hearted efforts further hampered their revival chances.
MI once again lost Sachin Tendulkar (9) early on as the batting icon got an inside edge onto the stumps off Praveen Kumar. Mumbai’s two in-form batsmen Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik tried to build on after losing the first wicket on 11. But Karthik lost his wicket just like Tendulkar and perished to Manpreet Gony for 25.
Smith, who didn’t look at his best, just seemed to get his eye in when he struck Gony for three fours in the 12th over. In the first ball of the next over, he struck leggie Piyush Chawla for a brutal six to bring up 100 runs for MI. Smith couldn’t come up with something similar off the next ball and was caught by David Miller for 33.
Rohit was particularly ruthless in the final over bowled by Punjab’s stand-in skipper David Hussey, hammering 27 runs. If the two sixes over long-on were a treat to watch, his six over mid-wicket that landed in the second tier of the Divecha Pavilion brought the crowd to their feet.