Mumbai Indians (99/2) beat Delhi Darevils (95) by 8 wickets
Man of the match: Lasith Malinga
When Lasith Malinga is no fire, even the best struggle. And so, it wasn’t that tough an ask for the Sri Lankan slinger against an inexperienced Delhi Daredevils side. He yorked four with toe-crushing deliveries and fooled the fifth with a slower one to end with unbelievable figures of 5/13 and shoot Virender Sehwag’s team out for a miserable 95. In response, the Sachin Tendulkar led-Mumbai Indians lost a couple of wickets to some good bowling and an exceptional piece of fielding. But that was about it as, devoid of any kind of pressure, Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma saw the team home in an unhurried fashion.
Undoubtedly, it was Malinga’s two spells which made all the difference and the result a foregone conclusion. Among a bunch of relatively unknown players, openers David Warner and Sehwag were Delhi major hope, as the home team batted first. However, Malinga had his own plans. He cleaned up Warner and Unmukt Chand with his trademark deliveries in his first over and the second over of the innings. Later, when a partnership was developing for the Daredevils, he returned to derail them again. Malinga began his destruction act part two by bowling Venugopal Rao (26) with yet another and followed it by breaking Morne Morkel’s bat, a precursor to yet another ‘bowled Malinga’ dismissal. As if for variation sake, he foxed Ashok Dinda with a slower one to claim his five for.
Thanks to Malinga’s sensational spell, the other bowlers too faced no pressure at all. Harbhajan Singh, who opened the innings, bowled a tight spell of 2/14 and was rewarded as batsmen were forced to go after him, with no runs coming from Malinga’s bowling. Ali Murtaza chipped in with the crucial wicket of Delhi top scorer Naman Ojha, while the rest of the bowlers had precious little to do.
The only hope Delhi had of a recovery from a disastrous start came to the fore during the partnership between Ojha and Rao. The duo was forced to rebuild the innings in 50-over style, with singles and twos interspersed with the odd boundary. With them at the crease, Delhi had a semblance of hope, but the alliance did not last long enough. Ojha perished trying to go for the requisite big hit, while Rao became another victim of Malinga’s yorking beauties. Earlier, skipper Sehwag tried to stem the rot, making an uncharacteristic 19, which included playing out a maiden off Malinga. But, a misunderstanding with Aaron Finch led to his downfall, as Tendulkar hit down the stumps to catch his opposite number short of the crease. An equally bigger blow was in store for Delhi as their priciest buy, Irfan Pathan, lasted a solitary ball, falling prey to a run out after another misunderstanding.
For Delhi to make a match out of it, they needed something Malingaesque with the ball. Morkel began well claiming Davy Jacobs very early in the piece and then a Jonty Rhodes-type fielding effort by Roelof van der Merwe saw the back on Ambati Rayadu. But, Tendulkar and Sharma knocked down the target with rather ease thereafter. There was no way back for Delhi following the Malinga show.
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