Mumbai Indians v New South Wales, CLT20, Chennai October 2, 2011

The no-show and a delayed reaction

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the CLT20 match between Mumbai Indians and New South Wales

The no-show
Kieron Pollard first burst into prominence when he butchered New South Wales in a match-winning 54 off 18 balls in the league stages of the 2009 Champions League T20. Expectations were high in the lead-up to the latest installment of the fixture - today's game. "Will we see a repeat of Pollard v Henriques today?", the CLT20 tournament CEO Sundar Raman tweeted, referring to the NSW seamer's figures of 3.3-0-49-1 in that memorable game. There was no repeat though, as Pollard combusted to an atrocious stroke early in the piece. With the top order already back in the dressing room, against Patrick Cummins who was thundering in at speeds exceeding 145kph in the fifth over, Pollard chose to crouch back in the crease and swipe across the line. The ball took out middle stump, while also disturbing leg and off. Curtains.

The sacrifice
Harbhajan Singh's aim when he faced the penultimate ball of Mumbai Indians' innings was to turn the strike over to James Franklin, at the very least. He tried to pull a short ball from Cummins, but was too early into the shot, and bottom-edged it to the off side. The ball had gone nowhere, but Harbhajan ran across in search of a fortuitous single, even as Cummins charged down the track to collect. Harbhajan didn't even make the pretence of running at full tilt, and just ambled across hoping that Cummins would miss. He was out by a bunch of yards as Cummins' throw crashed into middle stump at the bowler's end. Cummins celebrated, Harbhajan nodded at Franklin and walked away, his job done.

The late realisation
It was one of those rare occasions when neither the bowler nor the batsman knew that the latter was out bowled. Abu Nechim got his first ball to skid on from a length and smack a flat-footed Shane Watson palpably on the pads. Nechim was convinced he had his man, and writhed in anticipation as he went up in a theatrical appeal for lbw. Watson looked up slowly too, with the body-language of a man who knew he was in trouble. Umpire Shavir Tarapore, however, did not give it out lbw, since the ball had spun back off Watson's pad and rolled through to hit the stumps.

The pressure reliever
There was little to choose between the teams in the first 32 overs of play. Both had lost their best batsmen to reckless strokes against disciplined bowling, and New South Wales' chances of a win depended on the lower order's ability to handle pressure. For those 32 overs, not a single six was hit - a rarity in Twenty20 games in the subcontinent. Smith chose that moment to break the shackles, pouncing out of the crease to launch a flighted ball from Yuzvendra Chahal for the only six of the game. The stroke oozed intent, and proved to be the turning point in the match: Mumbai Indians' shoulders drooped a touch, and Smith took NSW home without strife.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kapil on October 3, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Good match...again it goes to show that the captaincy was not gr8 from Harbhajan.. you have opposition at 28/5 and you do not bowl your best bowler..not sure when these guys will learn to be aggressive... a wicket at that time would have sealed the match for Mumbai or at least would have pressurized NSW more.. hope they learn and learn quickly...

  • Andrew on October 3, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    @AidanFX - yep, for a T20 match, the young guns did well. I'd like to see Starc just concentrate on FC games this year, maybe get a nod for a International Limited over fixture during the summer, I think he has talent but needs to develop & recover more. As for Cummins, whilst I don't want him playing test cricket yet, I think he would be well worth the gamble in short forms for Oz. Like Starc, I want him playing plenty of FC games, & monitor his workload carefully. O'Keefe needs to be given a chance to tour with the test team in Sth Africa, although I suspect Beer will be ahead of him. As for S Smith, (the most maligned cricketer other than MJ), I would also prescribe tons of FC matches. I'd of had him in SL just recently, but wouldn't take him to Sth Africa as the Shield will start by the time that tour gets underway. I think he should train with the Test team when NSW duties permit, I rate him highly as a genuine allrounder, (2 or 3yrs into the future).

  • Aidan on October 2, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Great pitch - the bowlers dominated. Exciting following the performances of Starc, O'Keef and especially Cummins; of course recognition to accurate Clark. I was following S Smith's innings with the bat online @ this website and was deeply impressed with his mature innings. He came in under disarray. At first his strike rate appeared poor. Then as he and his partner began to build momentum they accumulated runs with mostly singles and twos. The Smith hit a boundary or two; the run rate req was still under 6. What impressed me about Smith and Rohrer is they took no risks and made a tricky chase comfortable and safe in the end. Smith hits a 6 and pats singles around. Later Rohrer hits a boundary and both just knock the ball around. Great sensible batting.

  • Shantanu on October 2, 2011, 14:19 GMT

    This wasnt a very good pitch for T-20 game. The batsmen needed to be patient. MI lost the game because their batsmen in the middle order played atrocious strokes. 120 would have tested NSW. Then after NSW were 27-5 the batsmen were allowed easy singles which allowed them to get their eye in. It wasnt an easy decision but fielders in the circle would have meant that batsmen would have to take more chances than they took initially. NSW might still have pulled off but who knows what would have happened if one more wicket had fallen. CSK would have to plan to restrict T&T to 120-130 or even 100 as T&T have three good bowlers in Rampaul, Badree & Sunil for this format and conditions.

  • Jay on October 2, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    No wonder NSW won the match over MI. MI, like any IPL team is a mishmash of overseas hired guns and do not gel well as a team. When you see how much MI had paid to their players compared to NSW, one wonders whether there is any return of investment for the MI team owners. IPL teams still struggle to be relevant in international match ups.

  • No featured comments at the moment.