Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 19 - Perth Scorchers vs Mumbai Indians
Ruthless Rohit leads MI into semis
Though the Mumbai Indians lost Sachin Tendulkar and Glenn Maxwell cheaply, Dwayne Smith ensured his team had the momentum in the run-chase; he smashed five boundaries and three sixes before a spectacular catch by Jason Behrendorff cut short his innings at 48.
Sharma, who walked out at 34/2, was a picture of intent from the word go; he hit his second and third deliveries for a six and a four respectively. Despite losing the company of Smith, he continued to punish the Scorchers. In the seventh over he hit Ashton Agar for a six over cover and deposited Brad Hogg into the stands at midwicket in the following over.
Joel Paris’ second over – the 10th of the innings – went for 17 as Sharma hit two boundaries and a six. The MI skipper brought up his half-century off just 23 balls. With his captain going all out at the other end, the usually dangerous Kieron Pollard took his time to settle down and played second fiddle. He hit two boundaries and a six in his 23, before he had his stumps rattled with his team on the brink of qualification; the fourth wicket partnership realized 65 runs in 6.1 overs. Ambati Rayudu finished the run-chase in style slamming Agar for a two sixes; MI romped home with 40 balls remaining in the innings.
For the Scorchers, who go home winless, Brad Hogg (2/26) and Behrendorff (2/31) were the wicket-takers.
Earlier in the evening, after being put in to bat first on a pitch where stroke-making was extremely difficult, debutant Sam Whiteman scored a half-century to guide his team to a respectable 149/6. Whiteman was ably supported by Ashton Agar (35) and Hilton Cartwright (28).
Mumbai Indians, used their familiarity of playing in these conditions well when they opened the bowling with Harbhajan Singh, who did not give the Scorchers openers any pace on the ball. Ashton Agar and Simon Katich got off to a sedate start, playing out 21 dot balls in the first six overs, adding only 29 runs in that period. Both batsmen scored at well below a run-a-ball rate, though Agar was the more enterprising of the two openers, hitting six boundaries.
Pragyan Ojha, given the ball in the 10th over, struck twice in his very first over dismissing both the well-set batsmen. The openers added 55 runs before being separated, but in the space of three deliveries, both batsmen were back in the hut.
Cartwright and Whiteman then gave the innings some much needed impetus over the next five overs. The former hit four boundaries in his 20-ball 28 before he was nailed by a yorker from Nathan Coulter-Nile. The Scorchers lost the wickets of Ashton Turner, Marcus North and Tom Triffitt for single-digit scores, but Whiteman stepped on the accelerator at the right time. The 21-year old survived a close leg-before appeal very early in his innings and made the most of that chance. He hit four boundaries and two sixes and remained unbeaten on 51 from 32 balls.
For the Mumbai Indians, Dinesh Karthik had a forgettable day with the gloves, leaking byes and missing a stumping. Even run-out opportunities were missed on a couple of occasions by MI. Coulter-Nile was the most successful of the MI bowlers, returning with figures of three for 19, while Ojha (2/17) and Rishi Dhawan (1/30) too picked up wickets.
Trivia: 47 deliveries – or 7.5 overs – in the Perth Scorchers innings were either yorkers or half-vollies.
The partnership between Ashton Agar and Simon Katich – which lasted 9.2 overs (58 balls) – had 27 dot balls.
There were only two dot balls in Rohit Sharma’s 24-ball innings. The Mumbai Indians innings in total had 22 dot balls.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma for his unbeaten 51.