The Mumbai Indians romped to a 41-run victory over the Deccan Chargers.
It was an exhibition of masterful stroke play from Sachin Tendulkar and a bludgeoning knock down the order from Harbhajhan Singh that took Mumbai to a competitive 172-7. Deccan never looked like winning, thanks in large part to Singh and Lasith Malinga’s excellence with the ball.
However, the Indians’ middle order’s failing (they contributed just 23 runs among four of them) cannot be overlooked. Tendulkar’s 55 and Singh’s 18-ball 49, which featured him taking 19 and 16 off the last two overs, rescued them, but they’ll require a collective effort going forward if they hope to mount a strong title challenge.
Deccan’s troubles, though, run deeper, and the manner in which they faltered in the run chase is a cause for concern. Adam Gilchrist failed once more, and Herschelle Gibbs’ inability to kick on after getting starts is continued. He hit two sixes and three fours en route to 27, then hit a full toss to cover.
Deccan lost two wickets in the next over, Andrew Symonds and Monish Mishra guilty of not valuing their wickets. This left the Chargers struggling at 50-4.
That stemmed the run flow, with Rohit Sharma and Turumalasetti Suman forced for play circumspectly while the run-rate climbed. By the end of the 10th over Deccan needed 95 for victory and when Suman was caught and bowled by Harbhajan Singh, that task became even more difficult.
However, Sharma found his groove and his crisp hitting gave the Charges an outside chance of victory (they required 59 off 36 by the end of the 14th over). But two tight overs from Malinga and Zaheer Khan, the latter accounting for Sharma, effectively sealed the result.
Mumbai 172-7 (20 overs)
Sachin Tendulkar 55, Harbhajhan Singh 49*, RP Singh 3-31
Deccan 131 (17.4 overs)
Rohit Sharma 45, Herschelle Gibbs 27, Lasith Malinga 3-12, Harbhajhan Singh 3-31
Mumbai won by 41 runs
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