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IPL desk in Mumbai 04 May 2012 - 12:35am IST

Report: Match 45 – PWI v MI

Bowlers deliver one-run win for Mumbai Indians in nerve-racking match

The Mumbai Indians defended a mere 120 runs at the Surbrata Roy Sahara Stadium in a match that went down to the last ball. They registered a dramatic one-run win against the Pune Warriors India to stay in third place in the points table. It was an extraordinary performance by the MI bowlers, led by Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh, who helped restrict PWI to 119 for six in 20 overs.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians brought back Pragyan Ojha and Thisara Perera for this game. Pune Warriors India, meanwhile, replaced Marlon Samuels and Manish Pandey with Jesse Ryder and Ashok Dinda in the playing XI. Harbhajan Singh, the captain of the visiting team, won the toss and opted to bat first.

It was a slow start by the MI openers with Ashok Dinda bowling a rare maiden to Sachin Tendulkar in the second over of the innings. Tendulkar, however, smote Dinda for three consecutive fours in the pacer’s very next over, while James Franklin hit Ashish Nehra for fourteen runs in the sixth over to get MI to 42 for no loss at the end of six overs.

The visitors’ batting fortunes plummeted thereafter as Franklin (25), trying to play one shot too many, was caught at long-on off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling in the eighth over. Rohit Sharma fell in the next over; after surviving a shout for lbw, the MI batsman was unable to make it back to the batting crease as he looked to take a non-existent single. MI were 56 for two in nine overs at the fall of Sharma’s wicket.

It got worse for MI. After Sachin Tendulkar (34) edged a delivery from Nehra to wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa, the visitors went from 81 for three at the end of the 12th over to 93 for seven in 16.1 overs. Robin Peterson, who was the fourth batsman to fall, managed a double-digit score (13). But Ambati Rayudu (1), Perera (0) and Harbhajan (0) contributed just a solitary run among themselves. Dinesh Karthik (18*) and Lasith Malinga (14 off 14 balls) then took MI to a score of 120 in an innings, which saw as many as four of the visitors’ batsmen being run-out – Sharma, Perera, Malinga and Ojha.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-0-9-2) and Ashish Nehra (4-0-19-2) were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts.

If PWI thought 121 was going to be easy to chase, the second half of the match saw an entirely different plot play itself out. Robin Uthappa hit a couple of boundaries and struck a big six off Munaf Patel to get the home team’s innings underway. Uthappa (18 off 18), however, couldn’t make the most out of that start as he was ruled lbw to Patel with PWI’s score at 20 in 3.3 overs.

Harbhajan Singh then turned the match in the visitors’ favour as he got rid of Jesse Ryder (9) and Michael Clarke (14) in successive overs. Pragyan Ojha, bowling his left-arm spinners from the other end, strengthened Mumbai’s position when he knocked over Steven Smith’s stumps as the middle-order batsman looked to charge down the track in the 10th over. PWI were 47 for four and pretty much up against the wall at this stage.

Sourav Ganguly and Mithun Manhas, nevertheless, brought the home team back into the contest with a 47-run stand. While Ganguly was playing the anchor’s role in the partnership, Manhas’ feisty innings kept the required rate within PWI’s reach. But with the hosts needing 27 off the last 19 deliveries, Lasith Malinga broke through Ganguly’s (16 off 24) defence to give the visitors their fifth wicket of the innings. Malinga even followed up Ganguly’s wicket with Wayne Parnell’s (2) scalp when he had the all-rounder out caught at point in the 19th over.

With PWI needing 12 off the last over, and Manhas still in the middle, the hosts fancied their chances. However, with Munaf Patel holding his nerve, despite being clobbered for a boundary by Bhuvneshwar Kumar off the penultimate ball, MI won the match by one run.

The win helps MI retain their hold on the third spot in the IPL 2012 table with 12 points from 10 games. PWI, on the other hand, remain in eighth spot with seven defeats from 11 matches.

Scorecard

Man-of-the-match: Lasith Malinga for his all-round performance that saw him score 14 valuable runs and end up with bowling figures of 4-0-25-2

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