Mumbai Indians put up a highly commanding performance against Pune Warriors on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium to clinch the game with clinical ease. In one of the rare instances when Mumbai have performed to full potential, both their batsmen and bowlers lived up to the task. Three of their batsmen got substantial scores while hardly any of the bowlers had a bad day as Mumbai romped home to a win with ease. Pune, on the other hand, failed to make an impression either with the bat or ball.
In all either earlier matches, Mumbai had failed to get off to a poor start, which has proved to be an impediment in their progress. That changed to an extent on Saturday, and it resulted in a drastic improvement in their overall batting effort. Even though Mumbai skipper Ricky Ponting fell without making a substantial score, the fact that he aided Sachin Tendulkar during the opening partnership helped the hosts lay a solid foundation for the side. Once they got a good start, Mumbai were always expected to do well in the later overs considering their in-form batsmen, which is exactly how things panned out.
One of the many positives for Mumbai from the game was the performance of Tendulkar. The Indian legend came up with his first substantial score of the IPL, which would give the team a lot of confidence as they head into the upcoming games in the tournament. Mumbai would also have been exceedingly pleased with the fact that Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma, who continued from where they left off in the last game, and played two excellent knocks again. Consistency is not what is expected from players in T20 considering the unpredictable nature of the version, but credit goes to Karthik and Sharma for not taking things lightly.
While it was Karthik who played the lead role for Mumbai in the last game evenas Sharma came up with the supporting knock, the roles were reversed this time round. Following Tendulkar’s dismissal, Karthik continued to counter attack for Mumbai. Yet again, he looked in no trouble at all, and his form augurs very well for the franchise for the rest of the tournament. Even though Karthik couldn’t carry on to play as big an innings as he did last time, Sharma ensured that Mumbai ended with a highly challenging total, hitting some massive strokes towards the end of the innings. In that context, Kieron Pollard’s cameo was also crucial.
Pune would have been hoping for a good start to their innings in their endeavour to chase the huge total. However, Mitchell Johnson’s early strikes swung the game completely in Mumbai’s favour. The left-arm seamer bowled an excellent opening spell during which he sent back openers Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa. At the other end, Ross Taylor was run out cheaply, which only hurt the team’s cause badly. Pune still had an outside chance if Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews blazed away, but that wasn’t to be, and Mumbai got home without any trouble.
Turning point of the game: Chasing 184, Pune slumped to 13 for 3. It all went downhill for them from there.
--By A Cricket Analyst