Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey scored an entertaining half-century to help the Mumbai Indians defeat the Delhi Daredevils by 15 runs and keep their playoffs hopes alive.
Delhi captain Kevin Pietersen would have been regretting his decision to bowl first since Hussey and Lendl Simmons amassed an 87-run partnership before Simmons was caught by Wayne Parnell off the bowling of Imran Tahir for 35.
Hussey ended up making 56 off 33 balls, which included seven boundaries and two sixes, before he was run out by Dinesh Karthik.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma made a quickfire 30 before he was clean bowled by Jaydev Unadkat.
Following Sharma’s dismissal, Mumbai’s middle and lower order completely collapsed as they went from 140/3 to 173 all out.
Tahir was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Unadkat snapped up two and Parnell and Shahbaz Nadeem chipped in with one.
Chasing 174 to win, Delhi got off to a solid start as Murali Vijay and Pietersen put together a 43-run partnership before Vijay was stumped by Aditya Tare off the bowling of Shreyas Gopal for eight runs.
Pietersen went on to score 44 off 31 balls, which included six boundaries and a six, before he was clean bowled by Harbhajan Singh.
Karthik only made seven runs before he was cleaned up by Marchant de Lange.
Manoj Tiwary and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy stabilised the innings with an 85-run partnership before Tiwary was caught by Hussey off the bowling of de Lange.
Tiwary’s fantastic knock of 41 came off 31 deliveries and included five boundaries and a six.
Despite finishing unbeaten on 45, which came off 29 balls and included four sixes, Duminy was unable to lead Delhi across the finish line.
De Lange was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Gopal and Singh claimed one wicket each.
Pietersen was frustrated at having lost yet another game, and said: “The frustrating thing is that we can get so close but can’t get over the finish line. When we keep losing and get so close, we form bad habits. But we’re going to fight till the death, all the way through and then we’ll see where we go next season. Credit to Gary and the backroom staff, you wouldn’t believe we’ve only won two games. It’s been a fun environment…if we’re losing and the boys can be as happy as this, when we’re winning we’re going to be a very strong unit.”
Sharma was pleased with the victory, and said: “I thought we played brilliant cricket although we should have played better with the bat. The kind of start we got…if not 200 then close to 200. To come out and defend like that, we knew it wouldn’t be easy but the bowlers executed their plans. We had quality spinners and fast bowlers so we knew we could defend it. The five games in UAE are definitely hurting us, we could have qualified by now. We’ll go back to the hotel and watch Rajasthan v Punjab carefully. Whole of Mumbai will be backing Kings XI in that game, but it’s not in our control.”
Hussey was named Man of the Match, and said: “This is probably one of my favourite grounds in the world, the atmosphere is phenomenal. Was very fortunate to get a game here. It was a good pitch. We’ve had a good trip on the road and coming back here, Mumbai has always played well here. We just need Kings XI to win tonight.”