Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians, Visakhapatnam April 9, 2012

Rohit dazzles as Mumbai win thriller


Mumbai Indians 142 for 5 (Rohit 73*, Steyn 3-12) beat Deccan Chargers 138 for 9 (Dhawan 41, Christian 39, Munaf 4-20) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The fifth edition of the IPL, which began in tepid fashion, finally had a nail-biter as Rohit Sharma hit the last ball of the match for six to seal a thrilling finish for Mumbai Indians against Deccan Chargers, who fought tooth and nail while defending 139. Daniel Christian, not the wisest choice for the final over, as very recent history tells us, dished out two full tosses to Rohit. One of them was off the final ball, which was dispatched over long-on to spark wild celebrations.

The Chargers were still favourites with 18 to defend off the last over. Kumar Sangakkara had bowled out his best bowler, Dale Steyn, leaving the final task with Christian. The first ball was smashed by James Franklin past long-off for four; the second down the same region; the batsmen sneaked a bye off the third; the fourth was a high full toss slammed by Rohit Sharma over deep backward point. With five needed off two, the penultimate ball was forced to long-off and Rohit Sharma timed his dive just in time to survive a run-out appeal. Christian couldn't come up with anything special, gifting Rohit Sharma the most hittable delivery of the over, breaking the hearts of the home fans who saw their side slip to a second straight defeat.

Fortunes kept oscillating in the final overs, but for most periods in the chase, the Chargers were in control. Much of the credit should go to Steyn, who ran in with the same vigour as he does for South Africa. He defeated the best hitters in the Mumbai line-up with raw pace and fizzy bounce, nipping out three wickets for just 12 runs. He took 2 for 6 in his first spell, conceded just two off his next over and only five off his final over. In hindsight, Sangakkara will feel he should have kept him for the final over.

Steyn gave the Chargers the early advantage by plucking a return catch in his follow-through to get rid of T Suman. The fourth over, a wicket-maiden from Steyn, was the spectacle of the evening. He ran in high on adrenaline and had his fellow countryman Richard Levi all at sea with raw pace. He targeted the stumps, forced Levi to stab at deliveries cramping him for room, foxed him with a slower one that sneaked past the outside edge and the stumps, bounced him, but saved his best delivery for the last. Levi played all around a fiery full ball that knocked back his middle stump.

For a team with big hitters at the top, Mumbai were struggling at 15 for 2 after five overs. The run-rate touched the five mark only after 11 overs, indicative of how miserly the Chargers were. The ball spun, gripped and even kept low, meaning the batsmen had to concentrate harder. Rohit fetched two boundaries and a six - over extra cover - off Christian to keep Mumbai afloat.

The arrival of Kieron Pollard, in the 12th over, perked up the run-rate. The spinners were always vulnerable against Pollard, who swung two sixes and a four to leave Mumbai a gettable 56 off the last six overs. Another spiteful over from Steyn, in which he hit the deck hard, softened up Pollard. He slammed Amit Mishra over long-off the following over, but perished trying the same against Christian, skying it to Shikhar Dhawan at long-off. Mumbai's shoulders would have dropped after Pollard walked off, but not Rohit's, as he walloped two more sixes off Mishra to restore hope for his side.

Rohit's hitting overshadowed Munaf Patel's four-wicket haul, which was responsible for restricting the Chargers. It also masked an ugly incident involving Sangakkara's dismissal, where some of the Mumbai players got confrontational with the umpires. Munaf bowled a low full toss which Sangakkara shaped to drive, but got an inside edge which shaved the off stump and knocked off the bails. The wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was standing up close and the ball deflected back to the stumps off his pads, causing confusion as to whether he was legitimately bowled in the first place. The umpires initially gave Sangakkara the benefit of the doubt, choosing not to refer it to the third umpire. The Mumbai players were peeved, particularly Munaf, who flung the ball on the turf as he ambled back to his mark.

A furious Harbhajan Singh marched to the square leg umpire Johan Cloete, who was soon enveloped by Munaf and Karthik. A clueless Sangakkara went across to have a word with the umpires but by then, it was as if the umpires were coerced into referring it. In theory, Sangakkara was legitimately out and the umpires should have had the presence of mind to consult. Mumbai's road-rage, though, left a bad taste in the mouth and it makes one wonder how different it could have been had Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai's original captain, been in charge. Tendulkar, unfortunately, was at the dug out, and there was nobody around to defuse the situation.

Cameron White and Christian added a quick 41 for the fifth wicket, smashing four sixes in their stand to boost the Chargers before the lower order was reined in. The target proved a challenging one, but the visitors were fortunate to run into a bowler who suffered another nightmare of conceding a six off the last ball in front of a global television audience.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    What an INNING by Rohit Sharma. I liked the confidence with which he hitted the last ball for a SIX snatching the victory against the opponent !

  • Deepak on April 10, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    "Not a fair game"?? Sanga was clearly out and the right decision was made by the 3rd umpire.. In case of Rohit Sharma runout, there was no clear evidence to give him out.. All that DC fans should do now, instead of ruing the umpire's decisions, is pray for a better fighting performance against other teams because their team will surely finish 9th..

  • karunakar on April 10, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    The cheer leaders on the cricket ground is not enough?God it is so annoying that extra innings got extra cheer leaders and musicians. What the heck is sony max doing?

  • Ayesh on April 10, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    18 from last over, you are expected to win 99.9% of the games. Luckily for Mumbai there was this Christian lad, who was hammered in a similar situation not so long a go in Australia by Thisara Perera. Sometimes I wonder why there are so many under-performing overrated Australians in IPL teams. Teams like Panjab seems to have only Australians !!! This is what happens when IPL is dominated by Australian coaches. Most of them are not to mention absolutely TERRIBLE . They do favour their own players at the expense of other talented players. IPL needs to stop this, STOP forever.

  • David on April 10, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    On yesterday's unpleasant incident, if the reaction of the Harbajan & Co were bad, I think the decision by the Umpire not to review was worse. Not picking up an edge or a close lbw is human error but when the bails go flying, that's just absurd. Even if it went off the wicki's pads after knocking the stumps I think the eyesight of umpires need to be better than that or they should not make rash decisions by not calling for a review. The course of the match could have been altered if the right decision wasn't made and the only people to suffer would be the MI. What's next, the stumps cartwheeling and the umpire deciding it's not out??

  • Mohamed on April 10, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    pls drop white and christian, and play the SF's Dumini and Rusty they will be better option, also give the local boy's a backup they will perform well in terms of batting. oh if u still want to play Christian find a good Indian fast bowler. like to see DC playing the finals.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    talking abt fair play ... first deccan should get less points then mumbai indians......

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    well Rohit was not out.. his bat was grounded.. and as per rules.. once bat grounded and then if its in air u cant give batsman out... and it was UMPIRE who didnt even ask for referral.. are they blind or no sense to refer it when they were not sure.. so its completely umpire's mistake... deccan had to pay price.....and harbhajan did right... one wrong decision can change result of match....those who have commentted against harbhajan are wrong........yes STYENs efforts were wasted by CHRISTIAN......

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    STEYN. I like that name. It somewhat rhymes with 'Steam' in Steam Engine. Like steaming in. Dale Steyn. Somewhat like Hail storm. His name itself has that power. And his bowling is world class. I attended the match and was supporting DC like crazy. Totally delightful to see a bowler from my team absolutely literally terrifying the opponent team batsmen (and the fact that Pollard and Richard Levi are one of them is very satisfying). And even more satisfying because I very rarely experience such thrill from the bowling department when I'm supporting India (of course, Ishant Sharma provided me with that thrill against Australia in 2007-08.). Steyn was absolutely brilliant. I don't know what to do if DC decided not to retain Steyn in the Main Auction two years from now. We already did a very very stupid big mistake by not retaining Rohit Sharma in the last Main Auction. A very big mistake. Imagine a team with Rohit Sharma and Steyn in it. Hope Deccan Chargers team selection improves.

  • srinivasan on April 10, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    IPL fair play point for last should be.

    MI: 1 DC:9

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