Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer wanted an 'Eric Hollies moment' with Sachin Tendulkar. Hollies was the legspinner who famously bowled Don Bradman for a second-ball duck in his final Test innings in 1948. Cut to 2013 - Tendulkar takes strike to the left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff. He cuts the first ball confidently to backward point for no run. The second ball is on the pads and flicked. The timing was crisp, effort minimal, but the placement wasn't quite right. Square leg was pushed back and Sam Whiteman ran forward and though the ball dipped, he managed to hang on inches from the turf. There was a hush around the Kotla as Tendulkar walked back, with the fear that this could be his last appearance for Mumbai in the event of them failing to progress further in the tournament. Tendulkar had all but emulated Bradman with a second-ball duck, but with a twist. Mumbai went on to qualify and fans may well get to witness Tendulkar again for the semis, and possibly even the final. Not quite the eerie coincidence that Langer hoped for.
There was another hush around the stadium when a Mumbai wicket fell. This time it was Dwayne Smith's. Smith bludgeoned the Scorchers bowlers for 48 with some ferocious pulls and he had set himself up for another massive hit. He rocked back to a half-tracker from Brad Hogg and pulled him flat to deep square leg. It was that man Behrendorff who played party-pooper again as he threw himself to his right and plucked the catch on the dive. The catch deserved a better response than the silence that enveloped the Kotla for the second time.
The wide call
It all happened in slow motion. Kieron Pollard angled one really wide across the left-hander Ashton Agar, who shuffled a long way across his stumps to try scoop the ball over the shoulder. Pollard followed him and delivered it very slowly. Agar failed to connect and looked embarrassed that he missed out on a freebie. However, the umpire deemed it wide enough to be penalised and Pollard stood with his hands on his waist and held the pose for a while, shocked at the umpire's decision.
The inconsistent bounce gave Dinesh Karthik a horrid time behind the stumps with a couple of let-offs, but he wasn't the only Mumbai Indians player guilty of a shocker in the field. Whiteman cut Glenn Maxwell towards short third man and it was played uppishly towards Harbhajan Singh. It was catchable but Harbhajan didn't get behind it with conviction and the ball bounced and spun past him and raced to third man. Can't blame the pitch for that.