With its batsmen failing to get going, Mumbai Indians crashes to a third straight defeat

With Brendon McCullum holding court, there was no way the Chennai Super Kings could lose.

Brooking no challenge from the bowlers, the Kiwi cavalier’s commanding and unconquered 53-ball 71 (8x4, 2x6) led his side to victory over the Mumbai Indians at the Dubai Cricket stadium on Friday night. Up against a target of 141, Super Kings surpassed it with seven wickets in hand and six balls to spare.

The Chennai chase started with Dwayne Smith paying Pragyan Ojha the compliment of a maiden over.

The West Indian, currently placed second in the race for the orange cap, wasn’t so courteous in the next over he faced from the left-arm spinner, smacking him twice into the stands behind long on. The spinner had the last laugh though, luring the opener to Corey Anderson in the covers.

Consistent hitting

Stepping out to Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina was stumped by Gautam. Meanwhile McCullum bashed on regardless, flaying the bowling withcharacteristic aplomb.

Faf du Plessis let his partner dominate the strike, a role the Kiwi batsman assumed in all seriousness giving little leeway to the bowlers.

One trimmer from Zaheer Khan whisked past the woodwork for which McCullum exacted revenge off the very next ball, heaving the speedster over the mid-wicket hoardings.

A cameo came from captain Dhoni towards the close but in the fitness of things, McCullum’s pat to mid-wicket fetched the winning run.

After Mumbai Indians took first strike, Aditya Tare swatted the seamers through square and through the covers in a short stay.

Michael Hussey was a pale shadow of his past self, the sheer pace of Ben Hilfenhaus beating him completely.

Super Kings took to the field with their usual efficiency, restricting the run-flow. Mumbai’s hundred was reached only in the 15th over, offering enough evidence of a controlled line of attack, ably backed up by the fieldsmen. The swiftness in the switching of bowlers and their ends kept the batsmen on their toes.

After exercising economy in his bowling, Ashwin felled an increasingly confident Corey Anderson with a direct hit from mid-off. Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma led from the front, his 41-ball half century the lone redeeming feature in an otherwise lacklustre effort.

The bowling laurels belonged easily to Mohit Sharma, his haul of four for 14 marked by a measured approach if not with precision.Hilfenhaus, by claiming the prized scalps of Mike Hussey and Mumbai’s top scorer Sharma, added teeth to the Chennai attack.

Scoreboard

Mumbai Indians: Mike Hussey b Hilfenhaus 1 (7b), Aditya Tare c Raina b Mohit 23 (19b, 4x4), Corey Anderson run out 39 (31b, 3x4, 1x6), Rohit Sharma c Smith b Hilfenhaus 50 (41b, 3x4, 2x6), Kieron Pollard b Mohit 12 (11b, 1x4), Ambati Rayudu c Raina b Mohit 1 (2b), C.M. Gautam (not out) 7 (4b, 1x4), Harbhajan Singh c McCullum b Mohit 0 (2b), Zaheer Khan (not out) 7 (3b, 1x6); Extras (b-1): 1; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 141.

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Hussey), 2-25 (Tare), 3-109 (Anderson), 4-123 (Rohit), 5-125 (Rayudu), 6-127 (Pollard), 7-127 (Harbhajan).

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ishwar Pandey 4-0-21-0, Ben Hilfenhaus 4-0-39-2, R. Ashwin 4-0-20-0, Mohit Sharma 4-0-14-4, Suresh Raina 3-0-32-0, Ravindra Jadeja 1-0-14-0.

Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith c Anderson b Ojha 29 (22b, 4x6), Brendon McCullum (not out) 71 (53b, 8x4, 2x6), Suresh Raina st. Gautam b Harbhajan 1 (4b), Faf du Plessis st. Gautam b Harbhajan 20 (25b), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 14 (11b, 1x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-4, w-2, nb-1): 7; Total (for three wkts. in 19 overs): 142.

Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Smith), 2-61 (Raina), 3-114 (du Plessis).

Mumbai Indians bowling: Pragyan Ojha 4-1-25-1, Zaheer Khan 4-0-31-0, Lasith Malinga 4-0-22-0, Corey Anderson 2-0-23-0, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-27-2, Kieron Pollard 1-0-10-0.

Man-of-the-match: Mohit Sharma

Chennai Super Kings won by seven wickets with six balls to spare