Jonathan Vandiar put on show a spectacular display as the Highveld Lions stunned the Mumbai Indians in what was the inaugural match (second edition) of the Airtel Champion League Twenty 20 competition. Vandiar’s knock of 71 included four fours and 3 sixes at a strike rate nearing 150.
Having won the toss, Mumbai Indians skipper Sachin Tendulkar chose to field on what looked like a green wicket with some pace and bounce in it. Being the favourites not just for this match but the tournament, all eyes were on Mumbai as they took the field with the Bullring buzzing all around them. Alviro Petersen and Jonathan Vandiar got the hosts off to a flier before the duo were involved in a controversial run out as Vandiar managed to ground his bat in seconds before Petersen did.
At that stage, it looked like Vandiar should have sacrificed his wicket. But, the lions will be thanking their starts that, that was not the case as Vandiar lit up the Bullring with scintillating shots all round the wicket. Both Cameron and Van Jaarsveld failed to provide the impetus as the two M’s, Murtaza and Malinga accounted for them. The lions most experienced campaigner and a “test match batsman” (so as to say) , Neil McKenzie walked in. The duo put on 64 for the 4th wicket and took the score to 145 before Vandiar slapped one of malinga straight to extra cover.
Nevertheless, there was no stopping McKenzie who played his trademark pulls, flicks and drives en route his 56. The hosts lost a flurry of wickets in the end but McKenzie’s innings kept the Lions together as they ended up with a mammoth total of 186. Zaheer Khan’s last over cost a plenty as the former looked rusty following his shoulder injury and was carted all over the park by McKenzie and company.
The bowling for the Mumbai Indian’s looked lacklustre to say the least. Murtaza bowled well in patches while Malinga was the stand out. Zaheer looked completely out of rhythm.
Sachin Tendulkar and Shikhar Dhawan came in with a huge task ahead of them. The Indians started of in brilliant fashion albeit lucky as the opening duo put on 83 before phangiso accounted for Dhawan. Having survived an early LBW shout Sachin Tendulkar looked classy as ever en route his innings of 69.
The mumbai team tried to bat around Sachin Tendulkar, but once sachin was dismissed by Burger, the doors were open for the Lions once again. Sachin fell trying to make room for himself as he missed the ball completely and was bowled. Duminy played well until a point where slogging was the only bail out. Duminy is more of a touch player and out right slogging is clearly not his forte.
Once Sachin fell, Duminy got stuck in and failed to farm the strike before he was dismissed by De Bruyn for 30. Once again Mumbai’s fate rested on how Pollard played, whether it was just a cameo or a little more than one. The latter ensuring a win. However, once again Pollard fell after a brief cameo of 19. Pollard fell to a brilliant yorker from Burger. Burger, was the game breaker as his spell in the latter half of the match helped the Lions get rid of the two batting giants of the Indians in Tendulkar and Pollard.
Although the Lions won by just 9 runs, the approach from the Mumbai Indians arguably was wrong. Keeping wickets in hand is not a bad thing but in this format one senses it tend to provide a false sense of security. Huge win for the warriors, while the Mumbai Indians have a lot to look at beginning from the selection of their 11. If Ryan McLaren had to bowl just one over then why not have Bravo instead of him, the latter being more of a batting all rounder. Lot of things for the unit to look at, the usage of JP Duminy and the bowling combination.
The lions would hope to keep the momentum when they play the South Australians in a day’s time. Mumbai would like to make use of the short break that they have so as to come up with a better performance.
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