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Mumbai blues... Lose three in a row

Chasing 183 and Mumbai only managed to limp to 116 for nine, conceding a massive 66-run defeat to Mohali at the PCA stadium, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Apr 28, 2008 12:25 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Musaveer Khote may have deprived Irfan Pathan of a hat-trick in the 14th over, but he and his teammates could not avoid Mumbai, the IPL’s costliest team, from registering a hat-trick of losses in the inaugural Indian Premier League.

Kumar Sangakkara had shown earlier in the day that even if one big top-order bat lived up to his reputation, a team could end up having a fairly respectable total on board. But neither Sanath Jayasuriya nor Robin Uthappa could shoulder the burden of chasing 183 and Mumbai only managed to limp to 116 for nine, conceding a massive 66-run defeat to Mohali at the PCA stadium.

The margin wasn’t as big as Bangalore’s defeat to Kolkata but it was certainly more humiliating than Bangalore’s, as it exposed them for the third time in as many outings.

Enough of Mumbai! This was Mohali’s night, one on which they came up with a thoroughly professional, superlative performance. Their bowling attack was touted to be the most formidable in the tournament before it began. And for the first time, that attack justified its potential as Brett Lee, Piyush Chawla and Irfan Pathan - all came to the fore.

Leg-spinner Chawla, who came into limelight in the Challenger Series at this same ground three years ago, when he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar, continued his love affair with Mohali with a magic spell. It wasn’t just about Chawla’s figures, 4-0-16-2, but the fact that his two scalps were Dwayne Bravo and Saurabh Tiwary, the only two Mumbai batsmen who seemed to be consistently middling the ball.

The pick of the bowlers though, unsurprisingly, was Lee, who registered the tournament’s (and perhaps T20 cricket’s) most economical spell - an outstanding 4-0-9-1.

However, even such an extraordinary bowling performance would have come to naught perhaps, had not Sangakkara played a superb lone hand when Mohali batted.

The Lankan kept the packed house, deprived of music for some strange reason, on their toes with his strokeplay, smashing 94 off only 56 balls.

Right from the moment he came to the crease in the second over, after Mohali’s experiment of opening the batting with Irfan Pathan failed, Sangakkara was at his fluent best.

The lack of support meant that he was denied the chance to become the event’s fourth centurion, but he seemed happy enough by the end of the game. One, he helped his team open their points tally. Two, he was adjudged the Man of the Match and three, he was wearing the Orange Cap while keeping wickets, as he had overtaken Brendon McCullum to become the event’s highest scorer.

The last few overs were more or less a formality, but the crowds — making up for the silent speakers by beating the dhol and doing the bhangra —stayed on, happy to cheer their home boys.