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MI prevail in the battle of big guns

For the first time in the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar did not fire with the willow. Neither did Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who returned to the Wankhede Stadium just 20 days after playing out of his skins to lead India to the World Cup win. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scoreboard

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2011 00:38 IST
Amol Karhadkar

For the first time in the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar did not fire with the willow. Neither did Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who returned to the Wankhede Stadium just 20 days after playing out of his skins to lead India to the World Cup win.

Still, none of the 33,000-odd spectators had a reason to complain. Not because they could watch the stars in action for a prolonged period since a terrible over rate saw the game extended by almost 45 minutes, but due to the fact that the Mumbai Indians avenged the defeat to the Chennai Super Kings in last year's final.

Friday's win pushed them to the top of the points' tally.

The Kochi Tuskers Kerala, during their last week's run chase, had shown that the Wankhede strip, with its true bounce, was a batsman's paradise till the end of the match. As a result, a target of 165 was not out of reach for the Chennai Super Kings.

Though Kieron Pollard had brought Mumbai Indians back in the match, first with his exceptional forward lunge to see the back of Michael Hussey and then forcing Dhoni to top-edge one for Rohit Sharma to do the rest of the running in from deep fine leg.

But with 30 runs needed off three overs, it was still anybody's game. Especially with S Badrinath having just raised his bat after a well-made fifty.

However, the next over changed the course of the match as Harbhajan Singh sealed the deal for the home team. The off-spinner got rid of danger man Albie Morkel, R Ashwin and Joginder Sharma in his last over to leave Badri hapless at the non-striker's end.

And Badri wasn't as hapless only while batting. After all, Rohit Sharma had justified his $2 million tag with a scintillating knock of 87 off just 48 balls to help MI put on 164 for four after they had lost their skipper for a singe-digit score for the first time in the tournament.