Mumbai: A star-studded Mumbai Indians batting line-up collapsed before some brilliant bowling from Delhi Daredevils as the latter defeated the hosts by 7 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Monday.
Even before the match started, Mumbai Indians were under pressure due to the absence of two of their top players. Tendulkar did not play the match as hasn’t recovered from his finger injury. Another big blow for Mumbai was the absence of their bowling spearhead Lasith Malinga, who missed the match due to a back problem.
The match which was predicted to be a ‘Clash of the Titans’ ended up being a totally one-sided affair as Mumbai Indians were bundled for just 92 runs in front of their home crowd. The collapse was a result of some poor shot selection from Mumbai batsmen who looked in a hurry. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who got the first breakthrough for Delhi, was impressive with his accurate line and length as Davy Jacobs was bowled in the second over for a duck in his first match of IPL 2012. Soon to follow was Richard Levi (1) who apart from his debut IPL innings (50 from 35 vs CSK), has looked a mediocre opener.
Apart from Nadeem, Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel displayed one of the finest spells of seam bowling we have seen in this year’s IPL. Yadav matched with Morkel’s pace as they made Mumbai batsmen look ordinary on a track which had a lot for the bowlers. They hit the deck hard and were rewarded with two wickets each. Harbhajan (33) was the highest scorer for his team. Apart from him, none of his team-mates looked comfortable at the crease. Rohit Sharma though managed to score 29 runs from 27 balls, but most of his runs came from leading edges. Mumbai skipper was the ninth wicket to fall, as Mumbai ended up scoring 92 runs, which is also the lowest score by any team, so far in IPL 2012.
Star Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor was included in the Delhi batting line-up, which already boasts of players like Sehwag, Jayawardene and Pietersen, and thus the chase was expected to be a cakewalk for them. Naman Ojha and Sehwag shared a 34-run opening stand making sure that they did not lose early wickets to panic. Delhi Daredevils successfully chased the total in 14.5 overs. Sehwag, who scored 32, was dropped by Levi at third-man and also escaped a run out chance.
Needless to say, Mumbai were outclassed in all departments of the game as they did not capitalise on a few opportunities that came their way.
In the absence of Lasith Malinga, Mumbai bowling attack didn’t look potent enough to put up a fight against the Daredevils. And to the surprise of many, Harbhajan Singh did not come to bowl a single over as his boys failed to pick up wickets at regular intervals. It was the same track where Nadeem got enough spin that put Mumbai under pressure. Thus Bhajji’s decision of not bowling in a low-scoring game, remains to be a mystery.
With three wins from 4 matches, Daredevils also reached top of the points table and with the kind of balanced outfit they have come up with this year, it is quite possible that they go all the way to win their maiden IPL title.