A walk around the stands at the Kingsmead on Saturday felt like being in Mumbai. The blue of the Mumbai Indians was everywhere – T-shirts, flags, noise-makers, clap sticks, stickers and, of course, painted faces.
People of Indian origin — seen here in large numbers — and South Africans, almost everyone was carrying some souvenir or the other of the team led by Sachin Tendulkar. The team owners had ensured this by distributing the stuff for free.
With such support, Mumbai Indians were in the hunt after 10 overs, reaching 84 for one in pursuit of 169, but their challenge fell apart in the second half following Tendulkar’s departure. The Deccan Chargers thus stretched their winning record to three out of three and emerged early sole leaders in IPL II.
It wasn’t a match full of extraordinary efforts. People chipped in bits and pieces and despite losing their way in the end of their innings, Chargers won because they found more players who contributed. Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and Dwayne Smith did their bit while batting, while Prgyan Ojha and Fidel Edwards delivered with the ball.
Ojha was the best among equals. Coming into bowl with Tendulkar and J.P. Duminy going steady, the left-arm spinner once again demonstrated the importance of taking wickets. He kept things simple, bowled a steady line without any assistance from the pitch and forced batsmen to take chances.
At 120 for one in the 13th over, the Chargers looked set for a bigger total. The run out of Gibbs and the blows dealt by Dwayne Bravo and Lasith Malinga kept them from soaring to something around 180 although the 168 they got was respectable.
There was disappointment for fans who turned up in good numbers for the second successive day. “Sachin shouldn’t have thrown it away,” said Imtiyaz Abbas, a local in the Mumbai blues. Who says the master is criticised only at home?
Deccan Chargers: Adam Gilchrist (captain/wicketkeeper), Herschelle Gibbs, V.V.S. Laxman, Rohit Sharma, Y. Venugopal Rao, Dwayne Smith, Harmeet Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravi Teja and Fidel Edwards.
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Shikhar Dhawan, Jean Paul Duminy, Dwayne Bravo, Abhishek Nayar, Pinal Shah (wicketkeeper), Harbhajan Singh, Zakeer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Dhawal Kulkarni.