|Scorecard:||Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals|
|Player:||SK Warne, RJ Quiney, RA Jadeja, MM Patel, SR Tendulkar, AM Nayar|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
DateLine: 14th May 2009
Four runs Mumbai Indians needed at the end of the 19th overs, with three wickets in hand. Four runs off six balls. But they managed to lose it there, by two runs, with one ball to spare.
Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan and Shane Warne were the stars of those five deliveries. Patel sent in a dot ball to Dhawal Kulkarni first, and then trapped him in front off the second. Chaitanya Nanda pushed one to mid-off and set off for a single, only to see Pathan break the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Harbhajan Singh, with four to win off three balls, took one of the fourth ball, leaving Lasith Malinga to face the music. Warne came and placed himself at short mid-off, and the Sri Lankan predictably played it to him there. The skipper grabbed the ball, relayed it to Patel, who broke the stumps, to pull off an incredible two-run win.
Warne has previously admitted to having had nightmares about Sachin Tendulkar batting, but on Thursday, he outwitted the Mumbaikar. Mumbai Indians got it wrong tactically while batting, which left them with the most inexperienced of batsmen at the crease, both at the beginning and the end of the innings.
Dwayne Bravo went early, top-edging Patel, but that is where an experienced player should have been sent in to keep Yogesh Takawale company. Sending in Ajinkya Rahane against the plans of the wile Warney was a big mistake. All momentum was lost as Takawale and Rahane failed to accelerate against the slow stuff from Warne and Johan Botha, coming in to play his first game.
By the time Sanath Jayasuriya and Tendulkar came in, things were really beginning to look bleak, especially once Warne got Jayasuriya.
Tendulkar found an ally in Abhishek Nayar and the two brought Mumbai back into the game, before Warne struck again, trapping Tendulkar. That, with the cheap dismissal of JP Duminy, cooked Mumbai’s goose for good.
There is nothing predictable about Warne’s captaincy. He replaced Naman Ojha, who had done so well up top, with Rob Quiney as opener, and it worked. Somehow, it seems like having at least one left-handed opener is working for all sides, and Warne’s plan here worked.
Australia Quiney and Graeme Smith seemed to be going well till the South African skipper swept one in Harbhajan Singh’s first over to the fielder in the deep, and the tempo dropped a bit.
Pathan has made a name as a destroyer of attacks, but what all have forgotten is that his attack is largely against spinners. Tendulkar first softened the batsman up with Malinga and then brought on Nanda for just one over, and Pathan, in his effort to capitalise, swung the leg-spinner straight down Malinga’s throat at long leg.
Ravindra Jadeja suddenly found himself at number four, and the youngster went on to display his versatility, taking to the slot with poise. The left-hander is normally a nudges and pushes sort of player but here he realised that the side needed a move on, and got on the job very well.
It was his 59-run stand with Quiney that got Rajasthan going, and just as well, since the lower order once again fell short of slogging the ball over the ropes.
Quiney fell to a superb Malinga yorker but he had compiled a fine 51 by then, off 40 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.
After that, the innings lost steam as the lower order didn’t really get off the ground. Jadeja did whatever he could and his 42 off 32 balls, with four fours and a six, was worth its weight in gold.
All the captains have realised the merits of slow bowling and Tendulkar is no different. Among them, JP Duminy looked better than Harbhajan, while Nanda and Jayasuriya came good when it mattered.