Mumbai: Harbhajan-powered Mumbai Indians made a strong statement, beating Dhoni`s Chennai Super Kings by 8 runs on their home ground. Bhajji bowled his best ever IPL spell (5-18) to ensure his team`s victory in a high octane match.
In the first half, Rohit Sharma cracked a blistering 87 to help last year`s runners-up Mumbai Indians rally strongly and put up a challenging total of 164 for four against defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League clash.
Rohit, who came to the crease at the fall of skipper Sachin Tendulkar in the fourth over, put on half century stands with Ambati Rayudu (27) and Andrew Symonds (31 not out) to help the home team recover from 13 for two at the Wankhede Stadium.
He was finally out in the last over holing out to long on fielder Michael Hussey off Doug Bollinger.
Thanks in large measure to Rohit, who hit five sixes and eight fours from 48 balls, and his partnerships of 61 with Rayudu and of 87 with Symonds, who hit two sixes and a four in 36 balls, Mumbai`s total assumed challenging proportions on a track offering some movement to the pace bowlers.
Rohit`s knock came after Mumbai had lost both their openers Rajagopal Satish for a duck and in-form Tendulkar for nine.
For Chennai, Doug Bollinger grabbed two for 30. Albie Morkel at last found his touch with the ball and bowled a splendid four-over spell, including one maiden over, to take 1-19. Suraj Randiv got one for 31.
Mumbai commenced their innings with a new partner for skipper Tendulkar, Rajagopal Satish replacing James Franklin who opened in the previous game against Pune Warriors.
But the move did not click as Satish failed to get going and put pressure on his captain.
Facing the first over from Albie Morkel after his team was asked to take first strike, Satish failed to connect all the deliveries barring one which ended up as a near-catch to the point region and the opening over was a maiden.
Tendulkar started promisingly with a superb back-foot cover-drive in the next over from left-arm Doug Bollinger who began with four wides with a short ball that bounced over Chennai captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
But Satish fell off the very first ball in Morkel’s second over, spooning a tame catch to short mid-wicket fielder Anirudha Srikkanth to leave the home team at eight for one.
The big blow was reserved by Bollinger when he induced Tendulkar (five in eight balls) with a short ball that the champion batsman gloved in trying to pull and gave a dolly catch to slip fielder Michael Hussey to leave MI tottering at 13 for two in the fourth over.