There seems to be no stopping the Mumbai Indians juggernaut. Pune Warriors India became their latest victims, crashing to a 41-run loss at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday (April 13). Having opted to bat, Mumbai, led by Sachin Tendulkar and then Rohit Sharma, set Pune a target of 184, only to give Pune no chance of doing so with a destructive bowling display.
Going into the match, opening batsmen and good starts were major talking points. But Pune's starting problems resurfaced, with Mitchell Johnson claiming the wicket of Aaron Finch in the very first ball of the innings. Finch, Pune's hero in the win against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday (April 11), had no answer to a venomous in-swinger that snuck through his bat and pad and disturbed the woodwork. Read match stats.
Wickets kept falling from thereon as Ross Taylor (4) got run out, Robin Uthappa (7) fell to another Johnson stinger and T Suman's (23) enterprising knock was ended by Harbhajan Singh. See match pics.
Four down at 38, Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews, the Pune captain, put up 33 for the fifth wicket. Yuvraj in particular was aggressive, hitting two humungous sixes off Rishi Dhawan and Kieron Pollard. While he was in the middle, Pune harboured some hope. But he tried one big-hit too many and eventually got out to Pollard, caught by Dhawan at deep-midwicket.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals and, despite Mitchell Marsh's fighting 38, Pune eventually fell short by 41 runs, ending the innings at 142 for 8. Mumbai, with their third consecutive win, jumped to top of the table.
Earlier, the promising partnership between Tendulkar and Ponting partnership did not flourish but, while the Mumbai crowd may have missed out on a box full of chocolates, there was a Hershey's Kiss on offer as Tendulkar - lucky sometimes, sublime mostly - scored a 29-ball 44. The much-vaunted opening pair put up 54, their highest stand in the tournament so far, giving Mumbai a solid foundation to build on. Rohit capitalised on that, scoring three fours and five sixes in his blitz at the death, before the bowlers took it away from Pune.
Tendulkar, who seemed to have made up his mind to play his shots, started off slowly, but capitalised on an Ashok Dinda over to assert himself, scoring four consecutive boundaries off it, including a delightful backfoot punch through the covers. At the other end, Ponting didn't look too comfortable. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's swingers were visibly troubling him early on and, although there was that trademark pull shot sent racing through midwicket, he was listless otherwise.
Their stand ended when Ponting (14) holed out to Yuvraj. Tendulkar, dropped by Yuvraj when he was at 24, continued his assault but was dismissed when caught brilliantly by Mitchell Marsh at the long-on boundary, when attempting to lift Aaron Finch for a six. Dinesh Karthik and Rohit carried on, putting up a 50-run stand for the third wicket. True to his form, Karthik took the attack to Pune, scoring four boundaries and a six, in his 29-ball 41. However, he was trapped plumb in front by Marsh and had to walk back soon, leaving Mumbai three down at 115.