Deccan lose close game, again
Mumbai Indians 101 for 5 (Rohit 42, Steyn 2-10) beat Deccan Chargers 100 (Dhawan 29, Duminy 25*, Malinga 4-16, Harbhajan 2-13) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After their first win on Thursday following five consecutive losses, Deccan Chargers were back to being what they have been this IPL season - dismal and disappointing. Once again, a decent start proved to be a false dawn. Once again, they had only themselves to blame. On a greenish Wankhede pitch aiding fast bowlers, Chargers allowed Harbhajan Singh figures of 4-0-13-2. They contrived to lose regular wickets, hitting wide balls straight to fielders. And they did not have another bowler remotely in the class of Dale Steyn, who tormented the home batsmen nearly every delivery he bowled.
Not that Chargers did not try, initially at least. Their captain Kumar Sangakkara, with 83 runs in five games at a strike-rate of 95.40, sat out the game. Chargers made three more changes. Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel even managed to add 37 by the sixth over, which was not a bad start given the appreciable swing and bounce RP Singh was getting.
And then they fell apart. Six wickets went down in the space of 7.3 overs for 29 runs. Parthiv checked his drive to an RP slower delivery but ended up chipping it to mid-on. With Cameron White, JP Duminy and Daniel Christian available, Chargers sent Ishank Jaggi at No. 3. After looking clueless against pace for six deliveries, Jaggi tried to attack Harbhajan and found mid-off. White slashed his first delivery to third man; Christian was to cut his fifth straight to point.
In between, Dhawan, having watched his side implode, charged out to Harbhajan, only to be stumped for 29. It was to be the highest score by a Chargers batsman tonight. Harbhajan kept the pressure up, firing some in, tossing many up, and varying his pace.
Though Duminy tried to ensure Chargers at least played out their 20 overs, their lower order crumbled against Lasith Malinga by the 19th. It wasn't an easy pitch to bat on by any means but Chargers needed something truly special from Steyn to even challenge Mumbai Indians.
Steyn tried as hard as he could. He knocked back Richard Levi's stumps first ball of the chase with a pacy outswinger. He could have had Rohit Sharma four times in four deliveries, but the ball beat the outside edge each time. Steyn came back in the ninth over, with a forward short leg to Dinesh Karthik, who immediately nibbled one through to the wicketkeeper.
Steyn could have had a third wicket, and Chargers could have still made a match of it, had Amit Mishra not put down a straightforward chance off James Franklin at third man with 36 needed off 44. The scorebook recorded a spell of 4-0-10-2, but it did not reveal the extent of the pressure Steyn created, even in a chase of just 101.
Rohit's luck, though, was to earn him an invaluable 42 runs, and ultimately prove decisive. He was beaten on the drive, he was beaten on the cut, and he was beaten on the defensive push. Inside edges eluded the stumps. An airy push went just over extra cover, a clip just past midwicket. But today, Rohit had more lives than a cat. By the time he finally threw it away, holing out down the ground off Duminy, Mumbai Indians needed only 26 off 36.
The home side handed the visitors another chance, when Franklin gloved a hook to the keeper, but Mishra was to again give it away. A wide, a full toss and a short ball in his poor 18th over that went for 14 finally shut the door on Chargers, leaving them with their sixth loss in seven completed games.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo