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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Daredevils by 98 runs

It was a forgettable outing for Delhi Daredevils after two consecutive victories in the IPL, but they would be taking solace from the way the under-scrutiny Feroz Shah Kotla pitch behaved.

The ball came on to the bat fairly well, always a welcome sign for a team loaded with attractive stroke-players, though on this day, they were left looking on helplessly as Mumbai Indians took advantage of batting first, notching up 218 for seven.

The progress of the Kotla turfs has been of much interest after the venue was handed a one-year ban from international cricket for offering an ‘unfit’ pitch for a one-dayer against Sri Lanka. The one used for this match was adjacent to the track played on then, and had been worked on by former player Venkat Sundaram in the intervening period.

The venue, which is set to host four matches of next year’s World Cup, is banned till December this year but is hosting matches of the IPL, considered domestic cricket. Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir’s decision to field first boomeranged as the Mumbai batsmen hit the highway straight away and his day did not become any better as he pulled a hamstring while fielding. The left-hander was sorely missed by the home side, who were bowled out for 120 in their pursuit of a challenging total.

It was the second consecutive victory for the Mumbai side, for whom Sachin Tendulkar and Saurabh Tiwary struck fine half-centuries.

Tendulkar gave the initial thrust, which was capitalised on by Jharkhand left-hander Tiwary (61) and Ambati Rayudu (34), the pair adding 71 for the fourth wicket. The left-right combination showed a penchant for big shots down the ground, their three sixes each propelling the score towards the 200-run mark. The
Delhi bowlers failed to put the brakes on the opposition, not helped the least by a rather indifferent effort by the fielders.
Tendulkar mustered 63 off only 32 balls. The record-breaking machine set the tone with a superb square-drive off Dirk Nannes and it was to be followed by a number of cracking shots on either side of the wicket. Dropped by Amit Mishra at point off other leg-spinner Sarabjit Ladda on 35, Tendulkar completed his 50 off 31 balls and it took a superb diving effort from Yogesh Nagar, running in from long off, to help Mishra make amends by dismissing the master batsman.

Nagar, who had earlier brought off a brilliant one-handed catch at mid-off to dismiss Sanath Jayasuriya, ensured Tendulkar’s damages were restricted to 11 in terms of boundaries hit and he was the lone bright spot for Delhi on the field.

The Mumbai team could not use the services of West Indian players Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo like they would have anticipated, but they proved pretty useful in choking Delhi with their bowling.

Bravo’s dismissal of Virender Sehwag, caught at long-off, virtually decided the outcome of the match what with Tillakaratne Dilshan already out and Gambhir ruled out. Sri Lankan all-rounder Farveez Maharoof was the highest scorer for Delhi, clouting two sixes in his 28, but his dismissal in the 12th over reduced the side to 106 for six and it was only a matter of playing out time from then on.

The lower-order batsmen struggled to get into double-figures, even as Harbhajan Singh and Jayasuriya helped themselves to two wickets each with their slow stuff.

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