Mumbai left hurting after imports flop

Mumbai Indians batsman James Franklin plays a shot during their Champions League Trophy T20 match against New South Wales at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Sometimes, plenty can be a problem. Mumbai Indians (MI) would have realised this on Sunday. With the advantage of fielding an extra foreign player, MI would have felt they could leave all their work to them.

But barring James Franklin, the most unfancied of those international stars, none of the quartet of Kieron Pollard, Andrew Symonds, Aiden Blizzard and Lasith Malinga came to fore against New South Wales Blues, who cruised to a 5-wicket win and made Group A open and competitive.

MI needed a win to reach the semis. But their batsmen misread the wicket. It demanded patience and perseverance but they tried to force the pace.

"It was tough wicket to bat on. I tried to work the ball around, collecting runs," said Franklin, who top-scored with 42 not out and helped them end on 100, a score that gave them some room to fight.

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The other MI batsmen floundered. Blizzard dragged one onto his stumps, and Pollard and Symonds were bowled while trying to slog out of trouble. Sarul Kanwar, who attributed his success in an earlier game to tips on leg-side play from Sachin Tendulkar, may have to get back to nets with the master in tow. Tendulkar could help him fix the off-side strokeplay too after he guided a poor delivery into the hands of point.

MI never got in and only Harbhajan and Sathish got into double figures to help Franklin.

For a while it looked like MI would still make it as NSW lost five early wickets. Both explosive openers, Shane Watson and David Warner, fell to Abu Nechim Ahmed who got one more a bit later. Malinga and Yuzvendra Chahal took one each to leave NSW tottering at 28/5.

However, Aussie international Steve Smith and Ben Rohrer carried their team past the finish line with an unbeaten 73-run stand. Smith and skipper Simon Katich pointed to the wicket. "It was tough to bat on," Smith said. "I had to work for runs."

The result means all the teams are in with a chance to qualify for semis.


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