Batsmen falter as MI lose first match at home
Almost everything seemed to be going right for Mumbai Indians in their first home match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Sahara India Warriors at the Wankhede Stadium, on Friday.
Mumbai won the toss, elected to field first, restricted the opposition for a relatively lower 129 for 9 and looked set for a chase on a wicket that seemed to have eased out. However, it was in the absence of rhe team's premier batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, that the top and middle order lost the initiative.
If Sahara Warriors scored low, Mumbai Indians scored lower -- 101-9 -- and that was eventually the story leading to a disappointing evening for the hosts here.
Sourav Ganguly and Manish Pandey opened for the Warriors but neither helped the team to an impressive start. In fact, Robin Uthappa's 33 and Steven Smith's 39 in the middle order were the only substantial scores that finally led to the total. None of the other Sahara batsmen managed to cross even 20 runs.
For Mumbai Indians, Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel picked two wickets each while skipper Harbhajan Singh, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and allrounder Kieron Pollard scalped one each.
It was also Mumbai Indians fielding in Friday's match, resulting in two run-outs, that turned out to be most impressive. Fielding coach Jonty Rhodes certainly seems to be pepping up his team members the right way. Things worked according to the plan for Mumbai, until it was their turn to pad up for a chase. The target looked achievable and untill the 14th over Mumbai Indians remained hot in chase.
However, quick wickets of Suryakumar Yadav and Pollard added to the early trouble that was created by the cheap dismissals of Richard Levi, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma, that led to the endgame.
Wicket-keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and allrounder James Franklin fought losing battles, prolonging the result. Pollard, who walked in at No 7, also failed to lift the momentum of the game, which had been slipping out of Mumbai's hands. The Trinidadian managed just 8 runs.
Mumbai Indians have thus begun with their share of home matches on a losing note while Warriors -- with due credit to them -- did well within their limited resources, walking away with an away game.
While Tendulkar remained absent for Mumbai Indians, recovering from the finger injury sustained in the last match, Sahara Warriors benefited from the experience of Ganguly whose shrewd captaincy remained an important factor.
Mumbai and Maharashtra (Pune) have been traditionally fierce opponents in cricket and now with Warriors winning this one, Mumbai Indians will certainly be keen to return the favour when they travel there.