Wankhede pitch not proper T20 wicket: Harbhajan

Mumbai: Despite his side registering a five-wicket victory over Deccan Chargers in an IPL match here, Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh was critical of the Wankhede Stadium pitch, saying that "it was not a proper Twenty20 wicket".

"A different wicket from what we have played at the Wankhede. Not good for T20 cricket. I came today and saw the pitch and said wow what to expect here, we never know what to expect from this track ever," Harbhajan said after the match.

"From next time, I think we have to ensure that we know what kind of wicket we are going to play," he added.

Asked about his side`s performance, Harbhajan said, "We did not play any better than Deccan, both teams batted poorly. Of course, our bowlers did a superb job. Rohit batted well and Ambati Rayudu was there to take us home."

Chargers captain Cameron White said the toss was crucial in such a wicket.

"It was an important toss but we did not play too well. Our bowlers tried their best but the total was too small," he said.

Asked about Steyn`s fiery fast bowling spell of 2/10, White said, "He (Steyn) bowled fantastic and we made a match out of it. One thing you don`t want to do is to have Steyn`s overs remaining with the game finished."

Earlier, Harbhajan Singh led the bowling attack from the front, picking up two wickets for a measly 13 runs before Malinga (4/16) took charge as the Chargers lost the plot early in their innings after being asked to take first strike.

James Franklin too picked up two wickets in one over while Rudra Pratap Singh (1) and Munaf Patel (1) also did their bit in an excellent display by MI with the ball after having conceded over 200 runs to the Delhi Daredevils in their previous match two days ago.

After a decent opening stand of 37 in 33 balls between Shikhar Dhawan, who made 29 in 32 balls with three fours, and Parthiv Patel (19 in 18 balls), the visiting team`s innings crumbled at 66 for six by the end of the 13th over before recovering to reach 100.

Jean Paul Duminy, who remained unbeaten on 25, was the only batsman other than the openers to get into double figures in a batting order that did not have regular captain Kumar Sangakkara who opted out of the eleven to leave his duties to Cameron White.

MI, without the injured Kieron Pollard, also fielded much better and took some excellent catches, Rohit Sharma`s attempt at backward point to catch a spiraling down sphere to send back Ashish Reddy off Munaf Patel being the pick.

The MI run-chase commenced on a stirring note with opener Richard Levi being clean bowled by his South African compatriot Steyn with a great out-swinger off the first ball of innings.

Steyn then troubled Rohit endlessly in the same over, beating the India ODI batsman with pacy out-swingers without getting the edge.

Rohit struck two fours against Veer Pratap Singh at the other end to ease off the pressure a bit but was also troubled by the 19-year-old Bengal Ranji Trophy bowler who made the ball cut in sharply.

While Rohit was having a difficult time, Tendulkar started in a sedate fashion, and hit Daniel Christian, who replaced Steyn after the latter`s brilliant two-over spell for three runs, for his first boundary in the fifth over.

But the senior batsman was out in the next over off Pratap, giving a high catch to slip fielder Christian while trying to slash the ball over the fielder to leave MI at 31 for 2.

Rohit became more assured after Steyn was taken off the firing line to preserve him, and he also pulled Veer Pratap`s short ball for a well-struck six over mid wicket.

Dinesh Karthik, who came after Tendulkar`s fall, did not last long once Steyn came back for his second stint and edged the Proteas pacer to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, the movement of the ball taking the edge of his tentative bat and MI were 45 for three, needing 56 more for victory in 69 balls.

With the asking rate not posing much of a challenge, Rohit and the left-handed Franklin put on crucial runs for the fourth wicket to ease the way for MI. Franklin even survived a dropped dolly by Amit Mishra just inside the third man rope off Steyn`s penultimate ball.

Rohit then needlessly attempted a big hit off Duminy`s wide ball while Franklin was caught behind off Ashish Reddy before Rayudu and Peterson took MI past the finish line.


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