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Fallen Warriors bow to mighty Mumbai Indians

With the neighbouring franchisees up against each other, the splendid DY Patil Sports Stadium saw each of its 55,000-odd seats occupied for the first time in the Indian Premier League's (IPL's) fourth edition. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scorecard

cricket Updated: May 05, 2011 02:03 IST
Amol Karhadkar

With the neighbouring franchisees up against each other, the splendid DY Patil Sports Stadium saw each of its 55,000-odd seats occupied for the first time in the Indian Premier League's (IPL's) fourth edition.

Although they wanted to see a glimpse of Sourav Ganguly, the brand new Warrior, for once they didn't want the home team to win the Mumbai derby. Even though the match was being played at the Pune Warriors India's adopted home ground, visitors Mumbai Indians had a better emotional connect with the fans in terms of proximity and star appeal.

As a result, after watching Ganguly bat in the nets before the start of the game, the fans would have expected a Sachin Tendulkar classic, a Kieron Pollard blitzkrieg, a Yuvraj Singh cameo and Lasith Malinga's scorching spell.

Though they got a bit of everything in a match that was comfortably won by the favourites by 21 runs to put the Warriors totally out of contention for a play-off berth, it was the domestic duo of T Suman and Rahul Sharma who stole the limelight on Wednesday. It was the seventh consecutive loss for Pune. Suman, who shifted loyalties from the Deccan Chargers, could not find a place in the Mumbai Indians starting line-up for the first half of the IPL despite having proven his credentials as an opener in the last two editions.

However, once he got his first opportunity, albeit at No 5, he cashed in with a 16-ball cameo. That 30 of his 36 runs came in boundaries - three fours and as many sixes - must have made the MI team management rue their decision to force Suman to warm the bench so far.

Just as it looked like Suman would take the game out of the Warriors' hands, Rahul, the Warriors' most prolific domestic performer, got rid of him. Having already seen the back of in-form Rohit Sharma, Rahul tossed one up to Suman and saw him mistiming his lofted shot to Mithun Manhas at long-off. Suman's dream knock came to an end. So did Rahul's spell soon after, with figures of 4-0-7-2.