Sachin’s exit proved crucial

08 Apr 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL 2010

MS Dhoni and Sachin TendulkarThe inability of Sachin Tendulkar to continue his innings after the first strategic break, owing to poor health conditions, dented Mumbai Indians so badly that they collapsed embarrassingly in their chase of 166 against the Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk.

Eventually, they fell way short of the target and lost by a disappointing 24-run margin. But, the game turned when Ambati Rayudu replaced Sachin at the beginning of the 10th over. Mumbai crumbed from 62 for 1 to 89 for 7 in no time. And even though Sachin returned to bat after that, the game was already out of Mumbai’s grasp. The heartbroken skipper himself fell for a valiant 45.

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While MS Dhoni’s men should be credited for their superlative comeback, it has to be said that Mumbai kicked themselves in the foot. Some of the shots they played were completely inexplicable, and that is to say the least. Rayudu began ‘mission catastrophe’ when he blindly charged down the pitch to Suresh Raina and was stumped by yards by Dhoni.

What was to follow wasn’t any better. Dwayne Bravo tried to breakfree against Thilan Thushara before getting his eye in and had to return disappointed, while Saurabh Tiwary threw his hand away after eating up 18 balls for 14.

All this was happening whilst Chennai bowlers were struggling to even grip the ball properly. There was dew on the ground right from the start of the game and, as expected, it got much worse in the second half.

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As such, Mumbai had everything going for them – they weren’t chasing a big score and, under the conditions, the ball wasn’t going to do much.All Mumbai had to do was to bat sensibly to achieve the target. Instead, they seemed hell-bent on committing hara-kiri.

After the loss of wickets in a heap, here was one great opportunity for big-hitting Kieron Pollard and R. Sathish to stand up and be counted. They also preferred to join the mess though. One has to acclaim that Pollard’s cheap dismissal was the product for an unbelievable catch by Murali Vijay, the fielder was unsighted by the man in front of him, yet managed to hang on to a skier.

But, Sathish’s silly run-out embodied Mumbai’s batting effort – lacklustre, without Sachin’s guidance. Harbhajan Singh late blast off 33 from 22 balls was just a reiteration of the fact that Mumbai had done themselves in.

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There was no inkling of the disaster to follow when Mumbai were in the field. It was a near perfect bowling performance. Harbhajan, opening the bowling, got the better of in-form Vijay, with a smart, quickish delivery. Chennai’s suffered majorly because all their batsmen got starts, but none went on to convert them.

Suresh Raina briefly sparked during his 23 before the short ball got him again. The bigger blow though was dealt by the unassuming medium pace of Pollard. In the space of two deliveries he consumed Dhoni (31) Matthew Hayden (35), both perishing while going for big hits as Chennai struggled to accelerate. It should have been the turning point of the game. However, Mumbai were all too keen to change that.

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