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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Past Punjab Mumbai Gets Late Charge



Peterson reverse-sweeps & switch-hits fours on the first balls, before hurting Punjab with a deadly six over mid-wicket. A single follows, giving the strike to Ambati Rayudu, who does what?  cream consecutive maximums over long-on & long-off, taking the total from Chawlas over to 27 & Mumbais requirement from the last to .

Thirty-two runs are needed from overs. Piyush Chawla, who until then has been a picture of parsimony, ambles in to bowl to Robin Peterson. Punjab are overwhelming favourites. Mumbai Indians are rank outsiders, but as the first delivery leaves Chawlas palm its the last moment in the game that the equation would stay tilted so.

An fascinating four-wicket win for Mumbai results, despite Azhar Mahmoods economic bowling, despite David Husseys first innings half-century, despite Harbhajan Singhs bizzare bowling decisions, & despite Parvinder Awanas double-strike, including the marauding Rohit Sharma, in the 18th over of the chase.

But more on Harbhajan. Among the lots of things he is called, a thinking man is definitely not of them. On Wednesday evening at Mohali - a ground he is well acquainted with  he opened the bowling with South Africa left-arm spinner Peterson, who conceded to Punjabs openers after the home team selected to bat. 

Punjab reached the total thanks to the Davids  skipper Hussey (60, 48b) & South African Miller (34, 17b)  who combined for 89 runs in 43 deliveries. Hussey reached his fifty in 30 balls, & changed gears again as the last overs gained Punjab 68.

That was the only over Peterson was entrusted with, as Clint McKay & R.P. Singh let loose a flurry of short balls to permit the batsmen off the hook. Finally, the home side, which was getting by on 79-3 in the 13th over, posted a competitive 168 in twenty overs  a score more threatening that it appeared to be thinking about the relative slowness of the surface.

Munaf Patel bore the brunt of the assault, his last overs costing 32 as Miller clubbed sixes to finish Punjabs innings on a high. James Franklin, who bowled a solitary over earlier in the day & dismissed a subdued Shaun Marsh (while conceding ) did not return to bowl  another point of distress in Harbhajans resource management.

Although a steady start & Rohits fireworks threatenend to spoil Punjabs party, the veteran Azhar Mahmood came in each time & pegged Mumbai back. The former Pakistan player dismissed both openers  Sachin Tendulkar & Franklin  in consecutive overs, & then took Rohits catch when the batsman was threatening to steal it away from Punjab.

Rohits 30-ball 50 came at a time the necessary rate hovered around the 12-an-over mark. His departure was followed in the same over by Harbhajans, but Rayudu & Peterson unleashed a deluge of bit hits to garner an important away win for Mumbai.

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