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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014
Mumbai beat Royals, face CSK in final
Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, May 25, 2013
First Published: 00:36 IST(25/5/2013)
Last Updated: 10:32 IST(25/5/2013)

It's inevitable that with time, Harbhajan Singh and Rahul Dravid will be consigned to the pages of history. But Friday showed they still have the mojo that helped them fashion one of India's most memorable Test wins.

Friday's venue was the same but the stage was different. And while both starred for opposing teams, they performed nevertheless, Dravid having successfully adapted to the Twenty20 way and Harbhajan showing he can still be as dangerous as he was more than a decade ago.

Dravid looked a batsman different from the one Eden has cherished over the years. Yes, he did start the proceedings with that trademark cover drive off Mitchell Johnson. But he also gave it back to the Australian when tried to chat him up after being hit for four. Dravid whipped him for another boundary before running up to Johnson and taking off from where they had left.


TOP-ORDER FLOPS
Apart from him none of the top-order batsmen tried to build on promising starts. Dravid was the aberration, taking Pragyan Ojha's spin to the cleaners after failing to pierce the field on his first few attempts. Things looked fine for the Royals till Dravid's partners ran out of patience.

Harbhajan exploited that to his advantage. He first struck when Ajinkya Rahane became overambitious while attempting to sweep him. In came Watson who lifted and cut Ojha for two boundaries before again picking Harbhajan for a sweep that resulted in a top edge. Completing an extremely difficult catch of Sanju Samson after that only made Harbhajan even more confident at the venue where he has taken his most Test wickets.

That confidence culminated in Harbhajan dismissing Dravid, luring him into a flick that Rohit Sharma brilliantly caught at midwicket. Rohit's celebration was emphatic but not more than Harbhajan himself, who saw the back of Dravid for possibly the last time in competitive cricket.

Had it not been for the innovation of Dishant Yagnik, Brad Hodge's dogged stand and Lasith Malinga's freakish last over, where he conceded 18 runs, Rajasthan Royals had almost shot themselves in the foot.

But hopes of a fight came crashing down early in the second innings when Rajasthan's pacers leaked runs from both ends. Needless, overthrows and extras only compounded their woes.

The pitch was two-paced but James Faulkner, Watson and Kevon Cooper failed to take the pace off the ball and were hammered as a result.

Mumbai's frivolities kept Rajasthan in the game right till the last over but the absence of any spinner was the most telling factor for the Royals.

There's where Harbhajan's Mumbai scored over Dravid's Rajasthan.


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