It is rather baffling that Mumbai chose not to invest in a single high-profile specialist wicketkeeper. On that count, you have to feel for Mumbai's 'occasional wicketkeeper' Ambati Rayudu. He had a forgettable time against Lasith Malinga, failing to collect a slower ball which beat the batsman. Two balls later, Malinga stepped on the gas to 143 kph, landed the ball mid-pitch and sent it sailing over M Vijay and a helpless Rayudu who conceded five byes. A regular keeper would have timed the jump better. His nightmare didn't end there. Four overs later, he failed to get behind a wide delivery from Abu Nechim and parried that to the boundary as well.
Harbhajan the gentleman
This was a far cry from the day he foul-mouthed Deccan's T Suman and paid a hefty fine for it. The temperamental offspinner knows what it's like to face a beamer, but when he bowled one today, his immediate reaction was soothing. When S Badrinath swatted a high full toss back to Harbhajan on the full, the bowler knew he had bowled an illegal delivery and immediately apologised to the batsman.
The ups and downs of Thushara
Recalled for this match, Thilan Thushara thrilled and spilled. A wicket off his first ball was the best way to start the evening and he went one step further with a well-judged overhead catch at long-off to send back Dwayne Bravo. Perhaps mindful of Chennai's catching blunders in this tournament, he fixed his gaze, cupped the ball, fell backwards and thanked the stars before his team-mates congregated around him. Another skier, towards long-on, just about eluded him but fortunately, he deflected a similar attempt to Vijay who was standing behind him. Vijay had no clue what was happening as he jerked his head back to elude the tumbling Thushara, and seemingly drifted into meditation, but the ball somehow landed in his outstretched palms. The evening didn't end on the best note for Thushara who was taken off the attack after 2.3 overs for bowling two waist-high full tosses.
With Chennai posting only 165, and allowing the Mumbai openers breeze to 46 for no loss after six overs, it seemed like the home fans had thrown in the towel. The MC did his best to get the deflated fans to rally behind their team but the response was muted. A few overs later, with wickets tumbling and the match heading Chennai's way, they didn't need his timely nudges anymore. Volunteers from across the stadium broke the ice and the rest followed.
Bathed in sweat, but not in glory
Chennai fans were clear about what they wanted - a Sachin-special despite a Mumbai defeat. Loud cheers greeted Tendulkar each time the ball travelled in his direction. Not surprising, given the number of his legendary knocks at this venue. But the locals didn't exactly get what they wanted when he hobbled off on 38, due to dehydration. Nevertheless, they stood up and applauded. The cheers returned when he came back to bat in the 15th over to get his side out of jail. He couldn't do a Houdini but the fans didn't complain too much because the match was already in the bag, when he finally departed.