Mumbai make it look easy in final game
A Mumbai Indians side led by Sanath Jayasuriya’s quickfire and often brutal 54 beat Bangalore Royal Challengers by nine wickets in the first of Wednesday’s Indian Premier League dead-rubbers.
Play was delayed for 90 minutes because of a damp outfield but, having been put into bat by Sachin Tendulkar, Bangalore looked at ease out in the middle at first.
Despite appearing cosy, they were quickly pegged back in the 18-over game thanks to superb bowling from both Dilhara Fernando (4-18) and Dwayne Smith (3-26).
Cameron White and Vinay Kumar both threatened to launch into an assault that might have led to a more dangerous target than the 122 they eventually posted, but both were dismissed as a result of Smith's nagging accuracy.
Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar never looked flustered at any stage and set the foundation for what always looked like it would be an easy victory for Mumbai.
Tendulkar hit the winning runs to reach 40 having been ably assisted by Robin Uthappa’s enjoyable cameo of 19.
So easy was it for Mumbai that it begs the question why they, as is the case with Bangalore, do not find themselves in the inaugural IPL semi-finals.
Mark Boucher and a pugnacious Shreevats Goswami looked to have given the Challengers a perfect platform to post a testing target in their 18 overs with an opening stand of 35.
However, once Boucher fell to Fernando, they never fully recovered: White (26) and Kumar (23) top scored but Fernando and Smith were too good.
Defending a modest target was never going to be easy, especially when Tendulkar and Jayasuriya are the men doing the chasing.
Jayasuriya was his awesome best at some points, while Tendulkar was happy to play second fiddle to the Sri Lankan’s dismantling of Anil Kumble, Kumar and Praveen Kumar.
Dale Steyn (1-14) was easily the best of the bunch and deservedly picked up Jayasuriya’s wicket following a sustained spell of testing bowling.
However, Uthappa came in and displayed a whole array of strokes to steady the ship, but left it to his skipper to paddle them home with 12 balls to spare.