Mumbai: Even the return of Sachin Tendulkar could not turn the tide in their favour. Mumbai Indians were mere spectators to Shaun Marsh’s spectacular 68 from 40, as he single-handedly won the match for Punjab.
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Marsh’s effort dominated over another brilliant innings played by James Franklin who was sent to open the innings along with Tendulkar. Franklin played a maiden first over bowled by Praveen Kumar and still managed to score 68 from just 40 balls. The Kiwi targeted Bhargav Bhatt as he launched him for successive boundaries in the sixth over. Tendulkar scored 23 runs before being run-out on a wrong call of his own. Dinesh Karthik who hadn’t been in great form in IPL 2012 stabilised the innings along with Franklin as both of them added quick fire 75 runs from just six overs. Once Karthik was run-out in the 16th over, Mumbai Indians lost the momentum and managed to score just 163 at the end of 20 overs.
It was some good bowling and brilliant fielding by Punjab that put some pressure on Mumbai Indians earlier in the innings. Tendulkar played some good strokes which were stopped inside the ring. They managed to score 28 runs of f the first five overs. At the end of 7 overs, Mumbai were going at six runs per over.
For the first time, Punjab batsmen clicked as a unit and it was the opening pair of Nitin Saini and Mandeep Singh who began the proceedings on a positive note. The pair made the maximum use of the first six overs as they added 48 run for the opening stand. Saini in particular was very impressive with his shots. In the third over as he hit Munaf for a couple of boundaries, the veteran bowler had some nasty things to say to the youngster out of absolute frustration. That did not bother Saini who went on to play some more proper cricket shots.
After the formidable opening stand, Marsh took guard with Hussey as both of them shared 58 runs between them. Punjab needed 22 off the final two overs and Marsh clobbered two sixes in each over that sealed the victory for Punjab.
Punjab’s decision to drop Valthaty and open with Mandeep Singh worked as the youngster along with Saini made sure to provide a solid platform without panicking. Mumbai on the other side, played with just three overseas players and without Malinga, their struggle might continue.
First Published: Sunday, April 22, 2012, 15:09