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Friday, 30 September 2011

Rain scuttles MI's hopes

Mumbai Indians will have to wait until Sunday for a chance to enter the semifinals of the Champions League T20 after inclement weather forced it to share points with Cape Cobras in their Group B fixture here on Friday.

Rapid knocks by Sarul Kanwar (45, 21b, 3x4, 5x6) and Kieron Pollard 58 (37b, 6x4, 3x6) had helped Mumbai post 176 in 20 overs before rain intervened at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

In fact the heavens opened up in the final over of the first innings, ground staff scurrying on with the covers the moment the last ball had been bowled.

Though it never really came down in torrents, a steady drizzle remained, scuppering the possibility of any further play. Match referee Roshan Mahanama officially declared the match abandoned a little after 11 p.m.

If Mumbai's top order had been guilty of misfiring earlier, there was little cause for complaint on this occasion. Twentytwo-year-old Kanwar, making his debut for the team in place of T. Suman, led off, picking Charl Langeveldt up over deep-midwicket (a shot he was to play twice more) in the second over.

At the other end, Aiden Blizzard — though not entirely comfortable against Dale Steyn's pace — took 10 runs off him. J.P. Duminy was brought on in the fifth over but went for 17; Kanwar followed up a sixer with two boundaries, driving Mumbai's total up to 50.

Delightful driving

Kanwar welcomed Robin Peterson with his fifth six, delightfully driving ‘inside out' over long off, but was caught attempting the same shot the delivery immediately after.

Blizzard fell in Peterson's next over and it appeared Cape Cobras had managed to put the skids on. Over a four-and-a-half over period — that also included Ambati Rayudu's dismissal — Mumbai had gone from 65 for no wicket to 78 for three, but Cobras had only been lulled into a false hope.

Pollard, promoted up the order ahead of Andrew Symonds, rose from the slumber he had seemingly been in earlier in the tournament, commencing his assault in the 12th over with two colossal hits over long-on off Duminy.

Peterson had returned two for 13 from his first three overs but James Franklin tarnished his pristine figures with consecutive sixes.

Pollard ripped into Langeveldt next, powering a ball from outside off-stump into the stands over midwicket before battering two fours.

However, the hulking West Indian proved he was endowed with more than just muscle, raising his half century in the 18th over with a delicately-guided boundary to third-man.

Desperate to stem the haemorrhage of runs, captain Justin Kemp had bowled himself an over earlier, and removed Franklin. Sixtynine runs (43b) had been added for the fourth wicket.

Pollard finally perished at the hands of Steyn — the most economical of Cobras' bowlers on the night — holing out to Owais Shah at long-off.

Mumbai would have wished for him to carry on, but Symonds ensured there was no let-up. The side would have fancied its chances of defending 176 but the weather gods had the final say.

The scores: Mumbai Indians: A. Blizzard c Shah b Peterson 19 (24b, 1x4, 1x6), S. Kanwar c Shah b Peterson 45 (21b, 3x4, 5x6), A. Rayudu c Shah b Duminy 6 (7b, 1x4), J. Franklin c Levi b Kemp 18 (18b, 2x6), K. Pollard c Shah b Steyn 58 (37b, 6x4, 3x6), A. Symonds (not out) 14 (8b, 3x4), Harbhajan (not out) 3 (5b); Extras (b-2, w-11): 13; Total (for five wickets in 20 overs) 176.

Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-69, 3-75, 4-144, 5-165.

Cape Cobras bowling: Steyn 4-0-24-1, Langeveldt 4-0-45-0, Duminy 3-0-38-1, Philander 4-0-36-0, Peterson 4-0-29-2, Kemp 1-0-2-1.

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