By BV Swagath
Mumbai Indians worked hard for a 5-wicket win with 7 balls to spare in a low-scoring contest against the lowly placed Pune Warriors at the Subrata Roy Stadium. On a pitch that wasn’t easy to score freely, Pune Warriors could leave a powerful Mumbai batting line-up with just 113 to chase in 20 overs. The homeside did bounce back in the game putting Mumbai on the backfoot but a responsible knock from Skipper Rohit Sharma took the visitors home.
Mumbai Indians are well placed at no.2 with 9 wins in 13 matches. Pune have now suffered a dozen defeats in 14 matches. Nothing spectacular was expected from the Pune Warriors when they decided to bat first especially on a pitch that was known for its variable bounce. For a change, its openers Finch and Uthappa failed. Yuvraj who has been struggling for runs in this tournament seemed to be regaining form when he clobbered Pragyan Ojha for a couple of sixes but he flattered to deceive with a 29-ball 33. Harbhajan Singh outsmarted Yuvraj by striking his pads for an lbw.
Pune Warriors at one stage were 84 for 2 in the 13th over before they collapsed to 112 for 8. Mitchell Johnson produced dream figures of 4-0-8-2. Harbhajan was good with his 1 for 14 in 4 overs while Abu Nechim and Malinga took a couple of wickets each.
Mumbai in their run chase lost the wicket of Dwayne Smith in the very first ball to Dinda. Tendulkar failed yet again and all of a sudden there was pressure building up when Dinesh Karthik departed with the Mumbai Indians putting up only 39 on the board in 7.2 overs. A crucial partnership of 54 between AT Rayudu (26 from 23 balls) and Rohit Sharma (37 from 41 balls) sealed the game after this. For the Pune Warriors, Ajantha Mendis bowled well for his 4-0-15-1.
Toss and Teams: Pune Warriors have won the toss and elected to bat first against the Mumbai Indians at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. For Mumbai Indians, finally the most expensive player Glenn Maxwell gets to play his first game of this season! He comes in though in the place of Pollard who is apparently not well.
Pune Warriors: Robin Uthappa (WK), Aaron Finch (C), Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Mathews, Abhishek Nayar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Parvez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Ashok Dinda, Ajantha Mendis
Mumbai Indians: Dwayne Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Glenn Maxwell, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Abu Nechim