Sharma celebrates after hitting a six off the final ball
The Mumbai Indians got back to their winning ways after a thrilling encounter, that came down to the last ball of the match, against the Deccan Chargers.
Mumbai batsman, Rohit Sharma, was the hero of the match, as his spectacular innings launched Mumbai to a win they so desperately needed, since failing to chase a target of just 130 runs against the Pune Warriors.
Deccan, were also looking to get their first win in the 2012 IPL, after the Chennai Super Kings thrashed them by 74 runs.
In the last four editions of the IPL, the Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers had played against each other eight times, out of which both teams won four matches apiece.
With both teams coming off tough losses in their previous matches, they knew that a win today would give them a huge momentum boost going into their next match.
Deccan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, won the toss, much to the delight of the home crowd, and decided to have a bat first.
Deccan openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Pathiv Patel, soon walked out to the crease, and were determined to get the team off to a quick start.
However, things couldn’t have started any worse for the Chargers, as Patel, was dismissed on the tenth ball of the innings, when he tried to cut a ball that was too close to his body, and ended up edging a simple catch straight to Rohit Sharma at first slip.
Just two runs later, the Chargers lost another wicket, and this time, it was the new batsman, Bharat Chipli, who had to make the long walk back to the pavilion, after top edging an attempted hoick right into the waiting hands of mid-on.
Dhawan meanwhile, was starting to look in great touch, as he and Daniel Christian, put together a 37 run partnership, which was absolutely dominated by Dhawan, as he scored 34 of the 37 runs.
The partnership was much-needed, and was also scoring at a healthy run rate of 9.65, before Dhawan failed to pick up a slower ball by Lasith Malinga, and ended up getting a leading edge straight to Kieron Pollard at extra cover.
Dhawan’s 41 runs from 24 balls, in which he smashed two boundaries and four huge sixes, gave Deccan a huge morale boost after losing Patel and Chipli very early into the innings.
Deccan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, joined Christian at the crease, and together, the pair worked the ball into the gaps, while also hitting boundaries regularly to post a solid-looking partnership.
However, 36 runs into their partnership, Sanagakkara was dismissed after dragging a delivery back on to his stumps, when attempting a drive.
Christian, who was playing some excellent cricket, was joined by Cameron White at the crease, and together, the two Australians continued to work Deccan back into the match.
The pair, played some excellent strokes, while also hitting boundaries regularly to give the home crowd something to cheer about.
With White and Christian timing the ball superbly, it looked as if the fifty partnership was on the cards.
But, the fifty partnership never came, since Christian got out after trying to clear the boundary with a lofted drive, however, in the end, he ended up hitting the ball straight down the throat of Kieron Pollard at long-on.
Christian’s 39 runs from 36 balls, which included a boundary and two sixes, played a vital role in helping Deccan achieve a respectable total.
Dwaraka Ravi Teja was the next man to go, when he was comprehensively bowled by Lasith Malinga.
Two deliveries later, Malinga bagged another wicket, as Amit Mishra was caught at long-on by Munaf Patel, when trying to clear the boundary.
Five balls and nine runs later, it was Dale Steyn’s turn to head back to the dressing room, as he was clean bowled by Kieron Pollard when attempting to heave one over the top.
Cameron White, who remained unbeaten at the non-strikers end, looked in absolute shock as Ankit Sharma, who was the second to last batsman in the Deccan lineup, made his way out to the crease.
White, would remain unbeaten, as Ankit Sharma was dismissed on the second ball he faced, when being caught by Ambati Rayudu at deep midwicket.
Deccan finished their innings on 138, with White undefeated on 30 runs from just 22 balls, during which he hammered a boundary and two sixes for good measure.
Munaf Patel claimed four Deccan wickets, and was well supported by Lasith Malinga, who picked up three, and Kieron Pollard, who chipped in with two of his own.
Facing a rather simple target of 139 to win, the Mumbai openers, Tirumalasetti Suman and Richard Levi, were hoping not to have a repeat of the Pune game, where the team failed to chase 130 runs.
However, with only seven runs on the board, Dale Steyn picked up a wicket for the Chargers, as Suman, was caught and bowled for just five runs.
Steyn, struck in his next over once again, only this time, he clean bowled Levi with a brute of a yorker, which took out the middle stump.
Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma steadied the Mumbai innings with some good communication and rotation of strike.
The pair, were looking very promising to make a fifty partnership at the rate they were going, but, it was not to happen because when they were just two runs short of the half century mark, Rayudu was caught at fine leg, when trying to clear the ropes with a pull shot.
Kieron Pollard came to join Sharma at the crease, and together the pair quickly racked up a 37 run partnership, at an excellent run rate of 7.40, before, Pollard, was caught at deepish mid-off on 24, during which he cracked three massive sixes, after mistiming an attempted lofted drive.
Sharma meanwhile was starting to heat up and once Dinesh Karthik joined him at the crease, he reached his half century in just 41 balls, with a huge six over long-off.
However, once the partnership between Karthik and Sharma had hit 25, Karthik, was dismissed after dragging a delivery from Dale Steyn back on to his stumps.
James Franklin joined Sharma at the crease, and together, the pair needed to score 18 runs off the final over, which was to be bowled by Daniel Christian.
Franklin, took seven runs off the first three balls, upon which the strike was handed over to Sharma, who smashed a six from the first ball he got.
The next delivery, Mumbai survived a run out scare, when Franklin and Sharma ran two, which meant that they needed three runs off the last delivery to win the game.
The crowd were going berserk as Christian ran in to bowl the last ball of the match, which was thumped right into the stands for a massive six by Sharma, which sparked a huge celebration by the Mumbai Indians, while Christian could only look on in utter despair.
Sharma, finished unbeaten on 73 off 50 balls, in which he hit four boundaries and five amazing sixes.
Sharma, was also handed the Man of the Match award for his heroic innings, and said: “The idea was to stay calm. That is what I have been doing for India. When Franklin came in, we needed 19 runs in the last over. I knew we could do it in the end. The dive on the second last ball was what saved us. We needed this win very badly. We lost the second game and needed to win this to gain momentum.”
Dale Steyn, took three wickets, while Daniel Christian and Amit Mishra, picked up one each.
Deccan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, felt as if the team should have posted a higher total, and said: “We were probably 15-20 runs short. Rohit batted brilliantly. Mishra, Steyn and Sharma bowled well. Dan Christian was left with a tough job in the last over.”
Mumbai captain, Harbhajan Singh, was pleased with the win, but, thought that the target should have been chased down sooner.
“We were right under the target. We knew that the boundaries were short and later on the bowlers would be under pressure. We have got the batsmen who can clear any boundaries. We should have finished it a little earlier,” he said.
With Mumbai gaining a big win against the Chargers, they will be looking to continue their winning ways when they go up against the Rajasthan Royals on April 11.
Deccan meanwhile, will be looking to regroup and rethink their strategy when they face also face the Rajasthan Royals on April 17.