IPL 2011 has begun, with some exciting matches. All the games before this one were high score chases, but this was not to be so, just because of one man, the Slinga , Lasith Malinga. Two extraordinary spells got him 5 wickets, and MI got a very easy and well deserved victory. In the end, they won by 8 wickets with 3 overs to spare, chasing a very low 95 runs. Delhi won the toss and decided to bat on the Feroz Shah Kotla wicket, and after that almost nothing went right for that. The four foreign player Delhi went with were Warner, Aaron Finch, Morne Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe, while Keiron Pollard, James Franklin, Davy Jacobs and Lasith Malinga were their counterparts for Mumbai. Sadly, for the spectators, Symonds did not play.
Sehwag got a good start, launching the second delivery of the innings bowled by Harbhajan into the stands. He seemed fluent and watchful. Warner and Sehwag make a formidable opening pair, and the key for MI was to break that pair, and Malinga did just that. Just his second delivery, he bowled a perfect yorker to get rid of Warner. The teenager Unmukt Chand from Delhi lasted just two balls, when he was clean bowled by a perfect Malinga delivery. Sehwag was going good, but a direct hit to the stumps from SRT at short fine leg ended his short innings, and Delhi were in huge trouble. Aaron Finch on his debut for Delhi lasted only 12 deliveries before holding out to Rayudu against Harbhajan. There were signs pf revival when ex- Chargers batsman Venugopal Rao and ex- Royals wicket-keeper Naman Ojha struck a good partnership of 42 runs at run a ball. But, then Naman Ojha tried to go over the top , and was caught at long off by Malinga off a Murtaza delivery. The very next ball, some brilliant fielding by Satish resulted in Irfan Pathan getting out on a golden duck. Malinga returned to wreck the tail, and Morkel and Venugopal were bowled by inch-perfect yorkers. Malinga picked up his fifth when last man Dinda poked at a slower yorker by Slinga, and was caught at mid off by Franklin. Malinga finished with outstanding figures of 5-13, the best by any MI player in the IPL. It was a Malinga show, with yorkers being served on demand. Toes were crushed, wickets were shattered, hell, a bat was also broken. Great bowling by the Sri Lankan. MI have done a good job retaining him.
The Mumbai innings started with a hiccup, when Jacobs, on his MI debut, was clean bowled by Morkel in the second over. SRT was then joined by Ambati Rayudu who played a couple of good shots before outstanding fielding by van der Murve at extra cover resulted in him being run out. Then came in Rohit Sharma, one of the best IPL players, MI’s costliest buy, and it was all Mumbai after that. Rohit Sharma and SRT put on a solid 68, without playing any risky shot, just knocking the ball around, and finished the game easily. SRT finished with 46 , a good start for him. The bowling by Delhi was decent, and if they had more runs on the board, perhaps the chase would have been tougher.
All in all, a well deserved victory for Mumbai, who have a good balance in their team. Their retaining of SRT, Pollard, Malinga and Bhajji with the addition of Rohit, Symonds , Franklin and Munaf makes them a formidable team. For Delhi, their bowling is decent, but to win, they really need Sehwag or Warner to fire. Lets see how the fortunes of these two teams come out. Nothing can be said yet, as the IPL has just begun, and with 65 odd matches more to go, it looks like we are going to see some exciting cricket, hopefully.