Mumbai: An under-strength Pune Warriors India stunned fancied Mumbai Indians by 29 runs to kick-start their second Indian Premier League season with a win after Ashok Dinda's 4 for 17 helped Sourav Ganguly's team defend a total of 129 for 9.
Dinesh Karthik and James Franklin revived Mumbai from 5 for 3 in two overs with a 49-run stand, but once the pair was separated the home team’s run-chase lost steam and Pune ensured the stronger side on paper was brought back to earth after their win over Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday. In what proved a scrappy low-scoring affair, the Australian import Steven Smith's match-high score of 39 which helped Pune recover from 47 for 4 proved pivotal and he was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Few would have fancied Pune's chances at defending a total like 129, but led by Dinda they emerged victorious. Dinda ran through the Mumbai top order, sending back Ambati Rayudu (1) and Rohit Sharma (1) in his first over – the second of the chase - and then returned to remove the innings joint top-scorer Franklin for 32 in the 18th over. Franklin and Karthik (32) had staged a recovery but any thoughts of the pair steering Mumbai to victory were dashed when Murali Kartik, who had removed Richard Levi for a second-ball 0 in the opening over, returned to have Karthik stumped. And when Rahul Sharma bowled Kieron Pollard in the 16th over, the hosts were completely snubbed out. Dinda picked up his fourth in the final over, removing Harbhajan Singh with a full and straight delivery that struck him flush in front of middle stump.
That Mumbai were left to chase a target of 130 was down to another exemplary performance in the field. Having opted to field, Harbhajan had his decision vindicated when Lasith Malinga began the innings with a wicket-maiden over in which Manish Pandey had his stumps rattled. Ganguly was the next to go, stumped when attempting to charge Pragyan Ojha. And when Wayne Parnell – oddly promoted to No. 3 – was bowled in Munaf Patel's opening over, the scoreboard read a flat 27 for 3 in the fifth over.
Having managed just 30 runs in the Powerplay, Pune continued to falter. The fourth wicket to fall was that of Callum Ferguson, run-out for 12. Robin Uthappa (36) and Smith (39) put on a 44-run stand in which the stand-out feature was the manner in which they shuffled across to work the ball into the leg side, and that alliance proved match-winning in the final result. Smith struck four boundaries during his 32-ball effort, but more than those his ability to rotate the strike and deny Mumbai wickets during the middle passage was what stood out. Malinga and Munaf were the most successful bowlers with two wickets apiece, but Dinda and Kartik would end up as the bowlers to remember.