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Mumbai lose footing but climb the wall

Saturday, 24 May 2014 - 6:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Despite hiccups, Rohit Sharma-led team emerge with a win in their do-or-die match against Delhi Daredevils
  • Kevin Pietersen is bowled trying to switch hit Harbhajan Singh at the Wankhede on Friday Rajendra Gawankar dna

A batting collapse in the last six overs notwithstanding, Mumbai Indians succeeded in their mission to secure a win against Delhi Daredevils. From a great start in which they scored 100 in the first 10 overs, 87 of them being the first wicket partnership between Lendl Simmons and Mike Hussey, and looking good for a score in excess of 200, Mumbai were all out for 173, the last eight wickets falling for just 33 runs in 5.1 overs.

But the above-par total was good enough for Mumbai Indians to hand over Delhi Daredevils a 15-run defeat, Kevin Pietersen-led side's eighth on the trot and 11th in the league. DD remained in the hunt when the fourth wicket pair of Manoj Tiwary and JP Duminy were going strong, the South African left-hander dealing only in sixes while also rotating the strike with Tiwary. But once Tiwary got out for 41 in the 19th over with DD needing another 28 in nine deliveries, Mumbai Indians began to heave a sigh of relief.

Mumbai Indians were quick to get done with the game on Friday evening at the Wankhede and prepared to watch the ensuing match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab with keen interest. The entire team rooted for Kings XI Punjab. Even MI captain Rohit Sharma said at a sponsors event on Thursday night that he would be praying for a Rajasthan Royals defeat.

However, Mumbai Indians did everything right on the day, the most important thing being to win and stay in contention for the playoffs race. At 12 points with one to go, a KXIP win will make MI vs RR match here on Sunday more interesting for the fight as to which team takes the fourth and final slot in the playoffs.

It was not until the dangerous Kevin Pietersen committed suicide by going for a switch hit against Harbhajan Singh that Mumbai Indians began to breathe easy. Till then picking up runs with ease and looking for quick runs, Pietersen even promised to post his first half-century of the league. As long as KP was there, Daredevils had a chance end Mumbai Indians' progress.

Like KP, Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma, too, played a bad shot that triggered his team's collapse in the 15th over. Looking good to take control once Simmons (35, 25b, 5x4) and Hussey (56, 33b, 5x4) fell, Sharma moved sideways to cut Jayadev Unadkat but only managed to play it on to his stumps. The big-hitting Kieron Pollard did strike a massive blow for a straight six off Duminy but fell soon, edging Unadkat behind to give the bowler two wickets in three deliveries. There began Mumbai Indians' collapse as one after another either gave easy catching practice to fielders in the boundary or were run out.

The Mumbai Indians-Delhi Daredevils match at the Wankhede started about five minutes late after some drama near the boundary line. Mumbai Indians had named Praveen Kumar in their original line-up but as the players were climbing down the stairs before the start of play to observe a minute's silence as a mark of respected to former India Test cricketer Madhav Mantri, who passed away earlier in the day, the medium-pacer twisted his left ankle and ruled out of the game. Discussions were held between both the team think-tanks, umpires Rod Tucker and S Ravi, match referee Andy Pycroft and IPL COO Sundar Raman before allowing the replacement. Pragyan Ojha was roped in as Kumar's replacement, which meant MI had three spinners in the XI.

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