Mumbai: Harbhajan Singh cracked a stunning 18-ball unbeaten 49 and then grabbed three wickets as Mumbai Indians crushed Deccan Chargers by 41 runs in an Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.
Harbhajan turned the game around for MI with a stunning innings laced with eight fours and two sixes as he single handedly took them from 119 for seven to 172 for seven after the home side were sent into bat and captain Sachin Tendulkar (43-ball 55) had held the innings together with his fourth IPL III half century.
The fiesty off-spinner then took three wickets -- including that of dangerous Adam Gilchrist -- for 31 runs from his four overs as Deccan Chargers were all out for 131 in 17.4 overs in chase of 173.
Harbhajan got superb support from pacers Lasith Malinga, who took three for 12 from his 3.4 overs, and Zaheer Khan who returned with figures of 3/21 from his three overs as Mumbai Indians put up a brilliant bowling effort to notch up a comprehensive victory despite the dew playing a part, though small.
For the defending champions Deccan Chargers, Rohit Sharma was the only batsman to offer resistance to the Mumbai bowlers, top-scoring with a 25-ball 45 which was studded with three fours and two sixes. Herschelle Gibbs contributed a 16-ball 27 which had three fours and two sixes in it.
With today`s win, third on the trot and their fifth in the tournament from six matches, Mumbai Indians are on top of the league standings with 10 points.
It was also a splendid revenge for MI for the massive 10-wicket defeat suffered at the hands of today`s rivals two years ago at this ground in IPL`s inaugural season.
For Deccan Chargers, today`s loss was their third in six matches and have six points to their kitty.
The only partnership worth of note in the innings till Harbhajan’s pulverising knock was the 60-run stand Tendulkar forged with Dwayne Bravo (23 in 16 balls) before the home team lost five wickets in 35 balls.
Pacer R P Singh and spinner Pragyan Ojha triggered the collapse with two wickets apiece and from 64 for one Mumbai Indians were 92 for five before Jaskaran Singh dismissed Kieron Pollard to leave MI at 93 for five in the 14th over.
Tendulkar was out in the 17th over while trying to force the pace, top-edging a pull off R P Singh to rival skipper and stumper Adam Gilchrist to give the left arm bowler his third wicket of the innings.
Harbhajan used the long handle to strike a few meaty blows, slamming Andrew Symonds and Kemar Roach for a six each, to give the total a healthier look. Nineteen runs came off the penultimate over with the feisty off-spinner hitting Roach for a six and three fours.
The last over started by Jaskaran Singh was dramatic as he had to be taken off the attack after bowling two beamers at Harbhajan off the first two balls.
The over was completed by Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan cracked the part-timer for three fours to end the MI innings on a high note.