Fast bowlers thrived, wickets fell in clusters, and Mumbai Indians were back on track after a nail-biting finish. But Monday's Indian Premier League match here would also be remembered for a fiasco that could have been solved straightaway with the touch of a button. Yet another instance of the umpire's reluctance to refer a decision, this time involving Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara, could have affected the outcome but technology did prevail after all.
Not though without the goading of a seething Munaf Patel, the aggrieved bowler, who just wasn't ready to accept the umpire's verdict.
The dismissal however was unambiguous — Patel's low full delivery was dragged by Sangakkara onto his stumps, dislodging a bail before rebounding off 'keeper Dinesh Karthik's pad and disturbing the stumps again. Sangakkara thought it was due to the rebound, and found an ally in square-leg umpire Johan Cloete who didn't want to go upstairs. Only after repeated appeals from MI captain Harbhajan Singh and a fit thrown by Patel did the umpires budge and the appeal was upheld by the third umpire.
But for Dhawan
Sangakkara, having rushed in from Sri Lanka, could score only 14 runs, though it was baffling to see him wait for his turn till the third wicket fell. By then, Chargers had used up seven overs. Had it not been for Shikhar Dhawan's blast of 41 off 24 balls, with four sixes, 138 would have been a distant dream.
Harbhajan had warned his team of chasing low-scores after failing against Pune Warriors in their last match. But Dale Steyn was the DC's bowling mastermind, taking a fantastic return catch off T Suman and then foxing compatriot Richard Levi with a blistering yorker to reduce Mumbai Indians to 10 for two. Ankit Sharma then quietly slipped in a few economical overs and suddenly Mumbai Indians were looking at an asking rate of 10. Kieron Pollard thrilled with a healthy dose of towering sixes but Steyn induced a massive heave from him that went down Dhawan's throat in the 17thover. It prompted Rohit Sharma to shake off the shackles with two huge heaves off Amit Mishra but a pumped up Steyn dismissed Karthik and conceded five runs in the penultimate over. Requiring 18 runs from the last over, Sharma, however, proved his mettle with two sixes that sealed an improbable win.