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Cricket news - Hardik Pandya spark helps MI rally past CSK

Hardik Pandya's eight-ball 25 set the tone for MI's excellent victory over heavyweights CSK

A brilliant all-round display from Hardik Pandya helped Mumbai Indians rally past Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede stadium on Wednesday (April 3). For the majority of their batting innings, Mumbai had looked under par with the bat, until Pandya finished with a flourish to propel their total to a fighting 170.

With dew around, the target was still very chaseable. But CSK got off on the wrong foot against a home team which was buoyed by the momentum heading into the innings break. And before they could tee off, Pandya returned to get the big wicket of Dhoni at a time when the required rate had touched 14, to kill the game off in favour of Mumbai, thereby giving the visitors their first taste of defeat this season.

Chahar sets the tone

Back of a length, pitching middle and leg and then nipping away past the outside edge, squaring up Quinton de Kock completely in the process. That's how Deepak Chahar started things off at the Wankhede. The tone he set was so good that it almost dictated how the first three overs panned out. There was some swing on offer, and it probably compelled Mumbai's openers to be watchful.

Frustrated at the tempo of the early exchanges, de Kock tried to break free. First he tried cutting an inswinging delivery, only to get a lucky inside edge into the fine leg boundary. But there would be no such luck off the very next ball as he got cramped on the pull and hit it straight to square leg.

Suryakumar sparks up Mumbai

You could argue that Suryakumar Yadav's been given a raw deal. In the previous season, he was a revelation for Mumbai Indians at the top of the order with 512 runs - easily their top run-getter. But with de Kock's arrival, and Rohit Sharma's decision to open the batting, Suryakumar's had to settle for the No.3 slot, which may not necessarily suit his game when he's coming outside the powerplay.

But today, he was in as early as the third over, and here was the opportunity. The first challenge was to get the innings - which was quite sedate against the new ball - moving. And Suryakumar got to work almost immediately.

He punished Shardul Thakur's deviation in line and length respectively with consecutive fours. That over - the fourth of the innings - went for 16 and was followed up by an over which yielded 14 as Suryakumar took Chahar for a hat-trick of boundaries.

Did dew negate CSK's spin prowess?

The spin duo of Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja were put in operation immediately after the powerplay, and despite the dew already in effect, they were brilliant in putting the shackles on. In the five-over period where they bowled in tandem (6-11), the duo conceded just 24 along in addition to two big wickets.

Jadeja actually struck with his very first ball to end a dozy innings from Rohit, who hasn't been himself in this tournament so far.

Tahir then removed Yuvraj Singh cheaply in the next over, with some help from Ambati Rayudu's nifty footwork at the boundary rope. Mumbai Indians were in a rut. They went without a boundary for 30 balls (overs 4.5-9.4), and found themselves at an underwhelming 57/3 in 10 overs.

Waiting to explode

It was Krunal Pandya who joined Suryakumar with the hosts at a precarious 50/3. And then they just simmered along through the course of their 62-run partnership which took 49 balls, without really getting to boiling point. Along the way, Suryakumar got to his first fifty of the tournament. But it was hard to shake off the feeling that they were eating into the time reserved for Mumbai's big-hitters at the end.

Exploding...

Hardik Pandya arrived to the crease with just 20 balls left in the innings, Pollard arrived with just 12. But in the two overs they were together, there was carnage of the highest order. The penultimate over of the innings - from Shardul Thakur - went for 16, which was nothing when compared to what happened in the final over.

Dwayne Bravo, who had a pretty decent spell up until this point, was struck for three sixes and a four as the duo plundered 29 to propel the total to 170, which seemed a long shot from when they were 93/3 after 15 overs.

Mumbai bowlers come out firing

Buoyed by the late assault with the bat, Mumbai Indians were charged up when they took the field. Jason Behrendorff, on IPL debut, fed off that energy to produce an absolute jaffa in the very first over as he snared Ambati Rayudu for a golden duck. The ball reared up from a good length, brushing the gloves of an unsuspecting Rayudu for a simple catch to the keeper.

Lasith Malinga's start was less than auspicious, overstepping on the very first ball, but then he made up for it. A short and wide delivery, not his best, was enough to get rid of Shane Watson who mistimed the cut to point. CSK were rocked early. Both their openers gone in the first two overs.

Suresh Raina's threat, which made its presence felt through successive boundaries off Behrendorff, was wiped off by an absolute stunner from Pollard in the same over. A short, wide ball was slapped by the left-hander, only to be left gobsmacked by what followed. With the ball set to fly over him, Pollard made a towering leap, stretched out his left hand and grabbed it from thin air to leave the visitors at 33/3.

The Dhoni way doesn't work

He's won many-a-game with his tried and tested methods of taking it deep. But it wasn't to be today. MS Dhoni nudged the bowling around for too long, fetching very little in exchange, and then at the first attempt of breaking the shackles, he perished.

In the 55 balls (overs 5-14.1) that Dhoni was at the crease, CSK managed just 54 runs, with the majority of those scored by Kedar Jadhav at the other end. In that time, the required rate climbed to a worrying 14 rpo. Dhoni had to do something. He charged out to Hardik, but was outfoxed by the medium pacer who followed his body as he banged it in, resulting in a timid pull shot into the hands of square leg. His dismissal left the remaining batsmen with too much to do, without even getting a chance to get their eye in, and the chase inevitably ended with a whimper.

Where do they go next?

This defeat, although not ideal, shouldn't worry Chennai too much - the three wins at the start have afforded them this cushion. They will soon be back at the home comforts of the Chepauk, which works nicely for them as they look to bounce back against Kings XI Punjab. Mumbai Indians needed this win a lot more than their opposition did, and that it's come against a top side like CSK should provide the kind of lift they'll need when they travel to Hyderabad to play against an SRH team which is high on confidence.

Brief scores: MI 170/5 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 59, Krunal Pandya 42; Ravindra Jadeja 1/10) beat CSK 133/8 in 20 overs (Kedar Jadhav 58; Hardik Pandya 3/20) by 37 runs

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