Mumbai high at Chepauk

Mumbai high at Chepauk

Harbhajan leads from the front with 3/20 to bowl out RCB for 108 in the final.

Royal Challengers Bangalore were 41 for one after five overs. They needed 99 from the remaining 15 overs to win the Champions League Twenty20 tournament. On strike was Chris Gayle. Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh brought himself on,and announced to the umpire that he would bowl from around the wicket.

The first ball turned and beat the left-hander’s front foot prod. The next one,pitching wide of off stump,turned a mile,and was called wide.

Off spinners love it when they bowl wides of that nature. On most other wickets,Gayle might have been able to aim a square cut at that ball. This Chepauk wicket,however,had turn. Lots of it.

Gayle couldn’t score a run off the next four balls,all of them Harbhajan’s stock off break. Gayle stretched forward ponderously for the last ball,but it didn’t turn — or turned far less than all of the previous deliveries — and struck him on his front pad. The contact was just about in front of off stump,and the ball,according to HawkEye,would have kissed off stump. Kumar Dharmasena,a former off spinner,raised his finger. In one over,the nature of the contest was transformed.


In Harbhajan’s next over,the batsmen were in all kinds of trouble,with the ball coming off the pitch slowly but laden with bounce.

Virat Kohli just about cleared the leaping Kieron Pollard,stretched to his full six-and-a-half feet and with right arm extended to its fullest for good measure,when he flicked and found himself too early into his stroke. Off the last ball,Mayank Agarwal miscued a lofted hit,and a diving Rajagopal Sathish only got fingertips to the ball at long on.

After leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Agarwal,Harbhajan brought himself back for the 12th over of RCB’s innings. Off the fifth ball,Kohli went on his knees and slog-swept. The ball didn’t quite go off his bat with the sweet sound he had expected,and settled into the hands of Aiden Blizzard at deep midwicket. 74 for four,with all the big guns back,and and eight an over required on a stodgy track that was messing with everyone’s timing.

No fight

There was little defiance on offer from the remainder of the RCB lineup. The last six wickets added only 34,and Harbhajan,dropped from the ODI side,could lift both the oddly designed CLT20 Trophy and the Man of the Match award as sparkly confetti rained down upon Chepauk,shimmering dizzyingly in slow descent.

Few would have predicted the game’s eventual outcome when MI were bowled out for 139. They hadn’t helped their own cause,with three batsmen run out,two needlessly and one — Suryakumar Yadav — due to excellent work from Daniel Vettori,collecting on his follow through,turning around and diving to disturb the wicket in one fluid motion.

But their score kept ticking along,thanks to James Franklin,who struck two fours,two sixes and did a lot of hard running to score 41 off 29 balls.

Franklin’s innings ended at the start of MI’s 15th over,with their score 108 for five at that stage. Kieron Pollard could have launched them to an imposing total,but Daniel Vettori intervened to dismiss him for just 2,turn and bounce causing the big Trinidadian to miscue.

The next two balls saw Vettori catch Harbhajan plumb in front,only for the umpire to turn down his appeal,and then strike him on his toe with a full toss headed down the leg side,for which the umpire raised his finger.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 139 all out in 20 overs (J Franklin 41; R Bhatkal 3/21,D Vettori 2/30) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 108 all out in 19.2 overs (T Dilshan 27; Harbhajan 3/20,L Malinga 2/23,A Nechim 2/26) by 31 runs