For once, the Mumbai Indians’ top order got its act together and helped the side eke out a 10-run win over Somerset in the Champions League semifinal on Saturday.
Unlike the first semifinals, there were no pyrotechnics, no searing pace and no scorchers with the bat. The game lacked the slam-bang of T20. Even the fiery toe-crusher, Lasith Malinga, who took four wickets, mixed his deliveries well, one of which left pinch-hitter Roelof van der Merwe flummoxed. But it all made for some old-style, cerebral game.
Aiden Blizzard began well, and though Sarul Kanwar went early, the Aussie found Ambati Rayudu able enough to stack up 43 in nearly five overs for the second wicket. Though Blizzard never stepped on the gas, he ensured a solid platform for MI.
Ups and Downs
The pace slackened during the middle overs of the MI innings. A quick loss of wickets led to it and it was left to Kieron Pollard to push the run-rate up. He made a quick 24 off 18 deliveries, his cameo highlighted by two sixes over midwicket. The brute power carried MI well beyond 100.
People who haven’t followed Ranji Trophy wouldn’t know who Rajagopal Sathish is. He has played for Tamil Nadu and Assam in the premier first-class format without much distinction.
But he stirred up the Saturday night, outshining even the more acclaimed compatriot Pollard. His 25 off 12 balls, which included two fours and a six, got them to 161. Suryakumar Yadav, who was drafted in after his injury healed, helped him in the cause.
In Somerset’s reply, Craig Kieswetter and James Hildrith were getting the measure of the bowling till Harbhajan Singh introduced himself. A missed sweep and Hildreth was back in the dugout.