Paul Valthaty had just slapped Andrew Symonds for a straight six and was threatening to cut loose after a sedate start. Symonds bowled a similar delivery again and the opener repeated the stroke only to discover that long on fielder Kieron Pollard had moved a few steps to his left and was in a perfect position to take the catch.
That was nothing spectacular but Mumbai Indians hardly needed any out of the box performance to beat Kings XI Punjab by 23 runs and regain the top spot in the league standings at the Wankhede stadium on Monday.
Sachin, Rayudu shine
With the afternoon sun beating down, the wicket was never conducive for big hitting and it was clear the outcome of the match would depend on how the teams exploited the new ball.
Sachin Tendulkar (51 in 45 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (51 in 37 balls) ensured the bowlers would have enough runs to defend after KXIP skipper Adam Gilchrist put the hosts into bat.
The last year’s finalists lost Davy Jacobs in the third over but Rayudu again took the pressure off his skipper by quickly getting off the blocks and Tendulkar responded with a few innovative shots of his own.
But it was the 12th over from Praveen Kumar that allowed the Mumbai Indians to break free when Rayudu hit the medium pacer for a six and two boundaries off consecutive deliveries.
The rest of the Mumbai Indians innings was devoid of any spark. Even Kieron Pollard, promoted up the order, flattered to deceive. He managed to hit two sixes in his 11-ball knock but never looked like dominating the bowling.
But if there were any doubts whether 159 was enough against a side that boasts of three big hitters, the Mumbai bowling ended that debate within the first five overs.
Harbhajan Singh sent back Gilchrist in the very first over and it took KXIP 19 balls to find their first boundary. Paul Valthaty was all at sea against Lasith Malinga and was lucky to survive his toe-crushing yorkers.
Munaf Patel and Abu Nechim complemented him by maintaining an outside-the-off stump line and Valthaty missed more than he hit till a full toss from Munaf allowed him to break the shackles. Only Shaun Marsh (61 of 47 balls) showed resistance but with very little support from the other end, he was always fighting a losing battle.