Mumbai Indians maintained their fine run of form in the Indian Premier League as Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten half-century helped them to a 41-run victory over Pune Warriors.
Sharma cracked 62 not out off just 32 balls as Mumbai posted a daunting 183-3 batting first.
Pune made a disastrous start in reply as Aaron Finch was removed by Australia team-mate Mitchell Johnson first ball and the Warriors were eventually reduced to just 142-8.
Sharma finished the Mumbai innings with a flourish after Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik had expertly set an early platform following the dismissal of captain Ricky Ponting for 14.
Tendulkar caressed 44 off only 29 balls and Karthik reclaimed the Orange Cap – the symbol for the tournament’s leading runscorer – with an equally elegant 41 off the same number of deliveries.
Sharma cleared the rope five times at the end of the innings and the scorecard made dismal reading for Pune pace bowler Ashok Dinda, who returned the joint most expensive IPL figures of 0-63 from four overs.
Australian left-arm quick Johnson then set the tone at the start of the Warriors’ reply when he delivered an unplayable inswinger which crashed into Finch’s stumps.
Ross Taylor departed the very next over after a mix-up with Robin Uthappa and Pune were in dire straights when Johnson bowled the latter in the third over.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh blazed 38 off 26 deliveries down the order to add some respectability to the Pune total, however there was simply no stopping Mumbai marching to a third successive win.
In the day’s other match, Ravindra Jadeja’s 38 not out saw Chennai Super Kings to a four-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Set a target of 166 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Suresh Raina (30), Subramaniam Badrinath (34) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33) all contributed as the run chase came down to the final over.
With 16 needed of the final six balls, RCB left-arm seamer RP Singh’s first two deliveries were dispatched for four and six by Jadeja.
Jadeja and his seventh-wicket partner Chris Morris (7no) scrambled four off the next three balls to leave two needed from the last delivery.
Singh promptly over-stepped for a no-ball which Jadeja edged for a single to third man to clinch victory.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had earlier plundered half-centuries as the visitors piled up 165-6 after being sent in to bat.
Kohli hit 58 off 47 balls before being one of South African seamer Morris’ three wickets, while De Villiers found the boundary nine times – eight fours and a six – in his 32-ball 64.
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