Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma hit three sixes off Deccan Chargers medium-pacer Daniel Christian in the final of the innings. The last two were towering hits that sailed into the stands. But the first one, the shortest of the lot, was the one that delivered the strongest message.
Sharma hammered a low full toss over long on. The ball flew straight behind the Deccan Chargers’ dugout and into the enclosure where the team owners were seated. It was a statement — you made a huge mistake letting me go, and now you're going to pay for it!
Sharma (56 off 34 balls; 5x4, 3x6) and Andrew Symonds (44 off 33 balls; 4x4, 1x6), both vital cogs in the Chargers’ title-winning team in 2009, made sure their former bosses regret not retaining them. They added an unbeaten 102 runs off the final 10 overs to guide Mumbai to a competitive 172/4 after three wickets, including that of birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar, fell in the space of six balls to leave them at a shaky 70/4.
In reply, Deccan never looked like making a contest of it and eventually lost by 37 runs.
The Chargers suffered an initial setback when opener Sunny Sohal was out in the second over. Captain Kumar Sangakkara (34 off 28 balls; 3x4) played a watchful knock, but the other batsman had no reply to the MI bowling.
Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga proved unplayable, taking 3/13, including the wicket of his former national team skipper Sangakkara, with an in swinging yorker that uprooted the southpaw’s middle and off stumps. He also effected a direct hit from mid-off to run out Cameron White. MI opener Davy Jacobs set the tone early with a brisk 32 off 20 balls.
Tendulkar looked in good touch before the guile of leg-spinner Amit Mishra deceived the master blaster. Tendulkar went down the track, but the ball dipped and he failed to reach the pitch of the ball. He could only hit it to Dale Steyn at long-on.
Tendulkar’s wicket sparked a mini-collapse as they lost three wickets for no runs in the space of an over.
Sharma and Symonds played themselves in, adding just 17 runs off the next four overs, before cutting loose. The duo hammered 70 runs off the last five overs, including 24 in the final over.