Lasith Malinga blew away the Delhi Daredevils as he led the Mumbai Indians’ charge for victory in their opening encounter of the 2011 IPL season. The Sri Lankan slinger took five wickets for 13 runs in 3.4 overs of sensational fast bowling garnering an eight-wicket win.
It wasn’t a great batting performance for Delhi as they crumbled in front of their home fans at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Their batting was always considered a bit below par and top heavy for the challenges of the IPl, and their worst fears came true in the first game itself.
Skipper Virender Sehwag won the toss and had no qualms about batting first, but the move backfired heavily. On the 8th ball of the innings, Malinga bowled David Warner and then two balls later Unmukt Chand, the 18-year-old finding his pace too hot to handle.
Their problems were compounded when Sehwag was run out in the fifth over and the score read 27 for three. He contributed 19 off those runs, including two fours and one six, but could not beat Sachin Tendulkar’s direct throw to the stumps. Aaron Finch was then scalped by Harbhajan Singh for eight runs, heaping further misery at 40 for four in seven overs. Wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha, playing his first game for the Daredevils, resisted the collapse with 29 crucial runs and was ably supported by Venugopal Rao who added 26 runs for good measure. They shared a 42-run stand for the fifth wicket without which Delhi would have struggled to reach a respectable score even.
It is said so because as soon as Ojha got out in the 15th over, Delhi collapsed losing their last five wickets for just 13 runs. New recruit Irfan Pathan was run out having faced just the one ball and without opening his account. Then Malinga returned to finish off the tail, bowling out Rao and Morne Morkel, while Ashish Dinda did put bat to ball only to be caught within the circle. Delhi were bowled out for 95 runs in just 17.4 overs.
This was never going to be a challenging total with the batting might at the disposal of Mumbai and skipper Sachin Tendulkar only made sure of that. He was dropped early on by Sehwag and then didn’t let up after that, scoring 46 runs off 50 balls with three fours and a six. He lost his new opening partner Davy Jacobs to Morne Morkel early on and then Ambati Rayudu was run-out in the seventh over, with the score reading 31 for two.
But in the company of Rohit Sharma, who began a fresh IPL innings with Mumbai and perhaps also for his career, Tendulkar took his side home in 16.5 overs. Sharma was unbeaten on 27 runs off 30 balls, with three fours to his name as Mumbai collected full points.
© Cricket World 2011