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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hail Harbhajan, Bravo Mumbai!

Hail Harbhajan, Bravo Mumbai!

Last updated on: May 12, 2009 23:40 IST

Dwayne Bravo's unbeaten half-century saw Mumbai Indians crush Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets and keep their hopes alive of making it to the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League.

- Scorecard

Bravo smashed 70 from just 59 deliveries, inclusive of seven boundaries and three sixes as Mumbai cruised to 122 for two in 16.2 overs in reply to Punjab's 119 for nine in their 20 overs, in Centurion, on Tuesday.

Captain Sachin Tendulkar was unbeaten on a quick 41 from 29 deliveries as the two batsmen put on an unbroken stand of 82 runs in 10.3 overs. The victory saw Mumbai rise to fourth in the standings with 11 points from as many games, while Punjab slipped to seventh with 10 points from the same number of games.

Earlier, Sunny Sohal stroked his way to a quick 43 from just 23 deliveries but the rest of the batsmen caved too easily against the spinners.

Harbhajan Singh was the star with the ball for Mumbai as he took one for nine in his four overs. Part-timer JP Duminy also took advantage of the conditions quite well to take two for 15 in his four overs.

Punjab:

Electing to bat, Punjab lost a wicket quite early when Simon Katich fell in the second over of the innings for a duck. The Australian left-hander tried to play Dhawal Kulkarni through the leg side but got a leading edge which was pouched by Harbhajan Singh at mid-off. (5-1, 1.2)

But opening partner Sunny Sohal was not bothered at all as he slammed the next ball for a boundary through covers.

Once again Lasith Malinga was having problems with the new ball as Sohal hit him for successive boundaries in his second over.

Punjab sent in Irfan Pathan as the pinch hitter but the move failed as the left-hander fell run out for a duck in the fourth over. (22-2, 3.2)

But there was no stopping Sohal, who slammed the last ball of Bravo's over for a big six through the off-side. He followed it up with a boundary and six in Kulkarni's next over as Punjab raced to 43 for three in five overs.

Bravo continued to suffer as Sohal produced another six high over the third man region. But against the run of play, Mumbai struck with the key wicket of the rampaging Sohal, who was run out by Sachin Tendulkar. The right-hander, who made 43 from 23 deliveries inclusive of five boundaries and three sixes, tried to run off a misfield but then was lazy getting back and lost his wicket. (50-3, 5.3)

Harbhajan Singh started off well with a few that turned sharply and beat the left-handers in his first over. He didn't take long to strike when he got the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara for 9 (17 deliveries), who was bowled after being beaten in the flight by a delivery that didn't turn much. (67-4, 9.1)

Duminy then compounded Punjab's misery with a twin strike in his second over.

Wilkin Mota (4 from 7 deliveries) tried to take on Duminy but ended hitting it straight to Harbhajan at long-on, who juggled it a few times before completing the catch. (79-5, 11.1)

Three balls later Yuvraj gave his wicket away with a rather reckless shot considering the circumstances. The Punjab captain, who made 12 from 18 deliveries, tried to loft Duminy through the leg side but got a thick outside edge which was taken by Bravo at point. (79-6, 11.4)

It seemed Punjab were intent on self-destructing as they kept losing wickets courtesy of some poor shot selection. Luke Pomersbach looked to launch part-timer Ajinkya Rahane through the leg-side but was beaten in the flight and was bowled for 5. (89-7, 14.3)

Brett Lee could not force things in the final overs, scoring 8 off 12 deliveries before he was dismissed by Malinga. Lee tried to smash the pacer down the ground but was brilliantly caught by Rohan Raje diving forward at long-off. (106-8, 17.3)

Two deliveries later, Piyush Chawla (0) became the third run out victim of the innings when he fell short trying a quick single.

The last two overs produced just six runs as Punjab finished on 119 for nine in their 20 overs.

Harbhajan was easily the best bowler for Mumbai with dream figures of one for nine in his four overs. Duminy also impressed with the ball, claiming two for 15 in four overs, while Malinga took one for 32. Infact, Mumbai spinners bowled ten overs between giving away just 32 runs while claiming four wickets.

Sohal gave Punjab a flying start with his quick knock of 43 and Karan Goel was left stranded on 20, but the rest of the batting gave their wickets away tamely. Mumbai's bowlers also were guilty of conceding too many extras, 18 in all, including 12 wides and 2 no balls.

Mumbai:

Mumbai once again had a new opening pair when Sanath Jayasuriya opened the innings with Dwayne Bravo instead of captain Sachin Tendulkar.

Jayasuriya once again failed when he was caught for 4 at third man attempting his favourite cut short off Brett Lee. (5-1, 2.1)

That early wicket seemed to have pegged Mumbai down as they crawled 14 for one after four overs.

But all hell broke loose in the fifth over when Bravo went after S Sreesanth.

Bravo didn't let Sreesanth settle as he smashed his second delivery for a boundary through square leg followed by a six over long-on. The next delivery was flicked in typical Caribbean style over wide long-on for the second six of the over followed by another stylish flick that saw Bravo claim another boundary.

The fifth over, which produced 21 runs, suddenly took all the pressure off Mumbai as they raced to 35 for one.

Piyush Chawla introduced in the sixth over struck immediately with the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane, who was leg before wicket for 1. (40-2, 5.5)

However, Bravo was in no mood to slowdown as he slammed a huge straight six off Yuvraj in the ninth over. In that same over, he brought up his half-century off just 35 deliveries as Mumbai reached a comfortable 62 for two in nine overs.

Chawla was unlucky not to get another wicket in his third over when he got edges off Bravo and Tendulkar, but both times the batsmen was rewarded with boundaries.

Mumbai were the favourites at the halfway stage, having reached 74 for two after 10 overs and needing another 46 from the last ten.

With the match virtually in their grasp, Tendulkar decided to take on the bowlers so as to improve their net runrate.

The veteran batsman smashed Chawla for a big six through midwicket in the 13th over and followed it up with successive boundaries off Goel in the next over.

Deservedly, it was Bravo who won the match for Mumbai when he smashed Pathan for a boundary through midwicket in the 17th over. The West Indies all-rounder finished on a magnificent knock of 70 from 59 deliveries, inclusive of seven boundaries and three sixes, as Mumbai reached 122 for two in 16.2 overs.

Tendulkar also looked back to his best, scoring a quick 41 off 29 deliveries, with four boundaries and a six. The two batsmen were involved in an unbroken stand of 82 runs in 10.3 overs to keep their hopes alive of making it to the semi-finals.

Mumbai jumped to fourth in the standings with 11 points from as many matches, while Punjab's hopes faded as they slipped to seventh with 10 points from 11 games.

Harish Kotian