All-rounder Harbhajan defeats Deccan

29 Mar 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL 2010

Harbhajan SinghHarbhajan Singh has always been a capable bat, but he hasn’t done well enough to be categorized as an all-rounder. Against Deccan Chargers though, he came up with a truly all-round effort to lead Mumbai Indians to yet another victory.

First, it was his blistering knock of 49 not out from a mere 18 balls that saw Mumbai garner as many as 52 runs in the last three overs. The late onslaught meant they ended on an impressive 172 after struggling at 119 for 7 following Sachin Tendulkar’s crucial dismissal.

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Buoyed by his awesome effort with the bat, Harbhajan, who was asked to open the bowling by Sachin, the removed Adam Gilchrist in the very first over. It was a methodical execution as Harbhajan Singh went round the wicket and denied any width to Gilchrist, who tried to cut one, but the sharp edge found an agile Sachin in the slips.

The celebrations to follow said it all. Harbhajan added the wickets of T Suman and Jaskaran Singh too later in the day to end with match-winning figures of 3 for 31. But, surely this time it was his batting effort which made the bigger difference and saw Mumbai romp home by 41 runs.

After being put into bat by Gilchrist, Mumbai made a steady start, but failed to maintain the momentum. Shikhar Dhawan was trapped in front of the stumps for 8 by a brilliant Jaskaran yorker. And, Deccan thereafter ensured that they had Mumbai on the mat, despite Sachin’ presence at one end. R P Singh was especially lethal, sending back Dwayne Bravo and Saurabh Tiwary in the same over. At 68 for 3, Sachin needed a dependable partner.

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Unfortunately, all he could do was helplessly wait and watch as one batsman after the other ditched him. Young Ambati Rayadu went for a senseless slog against left-arm Pragyan Ojha and was stranded mid-way down the pitch. R Satish did not do any better, also falling prey to Ojha.

At this stage, Mumbai needed Kieron Pollard to show why he is ‘worth’ so much. Instead, he top-edged a short one from Jaskaran to leave Mumbai in further strife.

All this while, Sachin continued to find the gaps and the boundaries at will, without taking any risks at all. It was yet another illustration that there is place for sane play even in 20-20. With nine wonderfully timed boundaries, Sachin raised his fourth 50 in the IPL.

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The pressure of accelerating the scoring though got to his and RP Singh had his third scalp. When Sachin departed, Deccan’s morale was sky-high. But, not for long as Harbhajan’s blitz grounded them.

The late momentum gained saw Mumbai take the field with renewed vigour. And the results were instantly visible. Gilchrist’s loss did not help Deccan’s cause, but they still had a batting line-up good enough to overhaul the total. It wasn’t too be though.

Herschelle Gibbs’ brief flurry of 27 from 16, which comprised two typically wristy sixes, gave them hope. But, once he was dismissed off a high full toss from Zaheer Khan, the innings crumbed. Rohit Sharma held things together for a while. However, for the second game running, it wasn’t enough. They needed someone to do a Harbhajan. But, the man was in the opposition.

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