4, 6, 0, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 4 and 4. Just like the ‘slapgate’ incident in the Indian Premier League’s opening season, this 10-ball sequence at the DY Patil stadium in Nerul could end up being the defining moment of this edition for Harbhajan Singh.
The 29-year-old walked in to bat with his team -- Mumbai Indians - with its back to the wall. He proceeded to then launch such an audacious attack on Deccan Chargers’ Kemar Roach that the defending champions appeared to be too shell-shocked to recover from it.
Having taken Mumbai Indians to a respectable 172 for 7 with his 18-ball 49 run knock, the off-spinner packed off the dangerous Adam Gilchrist in the very first over of the innings. He then chipped in with two more wickets to help them register a 41-run win and consolidate his team’s position at the top.
The off-spinner began with a six and four off Andrew Symonds in the 18th over but the capacity crowd, which was still recovering from Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal, would not have been prepared for what followed.
Chargers had brought in Roach in place of Chaminda Vaas, banking on his extra pace at the death and Harbhajan, audaciously enough, turned that to his advantage. He first slapped a good length ball to the extra cover fence and then followed it up with a six over long on.
The final over was even more eventful with Jaskaran Singh bowling two beamers to the "Turbanator" that saw him concede six runs without a single legitimate ball. Harbhajan, who gave Jaskaran a mouthful after the first beamer, directed the second to the fine leg boundary. Two beamers meant that Jaskaran went out of the attack and then Harbhajan proceeded to hit replacement bowler Rohit Sharma for three consecutive boundaries.
He missed a chance to equal Adam Gilchrist’s record of fastest IPL 50 (in 17 balls) set at this very ground but the off-spinner had by then ensured that it was Mumbai Indians’ game to lose from there.
Rohit Sharma waged a lone battle for the Chargers after half their team was back in the dug out for just 81 runs but his 45-run knock in 28 balls were not enough to force a turnaround.