Mumbai Indians’ Mitchell Johnson and Kieron Pollard were part of a compelling story in the Pepsi-IPL-VI contest against Chennai Super Kings here on Sunday.
A full house rubbed its eyes in disbelief as one of the safest pair of hands put down three catches in succession at point.
For Pollard, the three cut shots played by Michael Hussey off Johnson should have been sitters given his high standards.
The Hussey-Johnson-Pollard drama in the first over of the second session was the biggest of the day as the visiting side was skittled out for 79, the fourth lowest in the IPL and lowest this year.
Mumbai Indians, which scored an emphatic 60-run victory after posting 139, is now a strong contender for a play-off berth as it moved to 14 points from 11 matches.
The visitors, searching for their first win against MI at the Wankhede Stadium, had tactically outsmarted the home team, thanks to their bowlers and fielders. The host managed just 32 in the PowerPlay overs, with 11 of them coming in the sixth over. The other productive overs were the 12th (14) and 18th (13) before Harbhajan Singh employed the long handle to score 19 off the final over bowled by Ben Laughlin.
Mohit impresses again
The Mumbai Indians top-order was unable to fire on all cylinders, thanks to Mohit Sharma, who bowled yet another impressive spell, and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja. Dwayne Bravo and Chris Morris, too, chipped in with smart three-over spells.
Skipper Rohit Sharma’s decision to promote Pollard ahead of him failed as the right-hander offered a tame catch to Suresh Raina at long-on. The latter’s 49th catch in IPL ended Dinesh Karthik’s stay.
Raina also had a chance to complete a half-century of catches, but Rohit’s slash eluded him at point. The in-form MI captain hit three fours and a six in his unbeaten 39 off 30 deliveries. His calm presence and Harbhajan’s aggression propelled the host to 139.
MI seemed to have given itself a fighting chance, but Pollard’s failure to hold on to straightforward catches came in the way of Johnson striking in the very first over.
The Queenslander, however, hit back, forcing errors from Murali Vijay, who had replaced the injured Wriddhiman Saha, Raina and S. Badrinath in his second over as Super Kings slid to 18 for four. Debutant left-arm seamer Puwan Suyal accounted for the fourth wicket (Bravo).
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, the highest wicket-taker against CSK in the league, dismissed Hussey, Dhoni and Jadeja as CSK folded up for its lowest total in the IPL in just 15.2 overs.