An afternoon start in the month of May is bound to bring forth some sluggish moments. On Sunday, against the Chennai Super Kings, the Mumbai Indians began with a performance akin to the sultry weather.
But as the temperature came down, they put in a better show. A belligerent spell of seam bowling by Mitchell Johnson proved to be the catalyst for the home side, as they bounced back from a point from where they looked certain to lose. Scorecard
After managing to post only 139, Mumbai had no option but to attack. The stage was set for Johnson to unleash all the weapons in his armoury. With a dry pitch at his disposal, Johnson rocked the top order with a fiery spell that saw him scalp three wickets to leave Chennai reeling on 9 for 3 after three overs.
The flurry of wickets was preceded by an eventful run-of-play that saw Keiron Pollard drop Michael Hussey thrice in a row off Johnson and Ravindra Jadeja at the boundary later on. Fortunately, those moments of embarrassment did not seal their fate.
The burly West Indian made up for the mistake, lunging forward to send back the in-form Suresh Raina to give Johnson his third wicket.
Hussey (22, 26b, 1x4, 1x6) tried to salvage something for the visitors, but a false shot at the 10-over mark saw him lose his wicket. A tight bowling effort meant a regular fall of wickets from there on. The wicket of Mahendra Singh Dhoni by Pragyan Ojha sealed CSK's fate as they folded up for 79. It was the two-time champions and current table-toppers' lowest total in the T20 league and the fourth lowest overall. It handed Mumbai a comfortable 60-run victory, but more importantly, kept them in the reckoning for a place in the play-offs.
Earlier, with the heat at its peak, it was a matter of which side kept its cool, and Dhoni managed to find the right mix. He rotated his bowlers cleverly, alternating between the spin of Ravindra Jadeja and medium pacer Chris Morris.
The two bowled to the field and Jadeja looked particularly in sync with the plan. The all-rounder picked up the crucial wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Pollard to leave Mumbai reeling at 54/3 after 10 overs.
A 50-run partnership between Rohit Sharma (39*, 30b, 3x4, 1x6) and Harbhajan Singh (25, 11b, 2x4, 2x6) late in the innings gave Mumbai a respectable target to bowl at.