Rain has the final say

Rain has the final say

Cricket Champions League T20: Mumbai Indians, Cape Cobras share points as weather intervenes in Group A tie

Rain has the final say

POWER-PACKED: Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard smashes one over the fence during his blistering innings of 58 against Cape Cobras at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Friday. DH Photo/ Kishor Kumar BolarIndians produced their best batting effort thus far to reach 176 for five in 20 overs against Cape Cobras when the skies opened up to stop the proceedings at the Chinnaswamy stadium, The Cobras’ innings never started as the rain refused to stay away, forcing the officials to abandon the match a little past 11 pm.

Indians grabbed a point from this game to increase their tally to five points, and Cobras moved to second spot in Group A with three points. Now, Indians will have to win their last group match against New South Wales at Chennai on Sunday to ward off the mathematical equations to assure a berth in the Champions League T20 semis.

But much before rain came to spoil the fun, Indians engaged in a serious image makeover with some determined batting. Determination was the element so far missing from their batting efforts in the CLT20, and an unlikely batsman, Kanwar, emphatically infused it in them.

The 23-year old Punjab right-hander produced a stunner (45, 21b, 3x4, 5x6) upfront to shock Cobras. Standing up against Dale Steyn, world’s premier fast bowler, and Charl Langeveldt, an experienced campaigner in T20s, Kanwar was expected to surrender without a fight. But he turned a hopeless situation into a successful personal outing.

He began the act of destruction with a flicked six off Langeveldt over mid-wicket, and sixes never stopped coming on the night. Jean-Paul Duminy, Vernon Philander and Robin Peterson were subjected to the ultimate punishment in the course of his bruising knock.

It wasn’t a one-dimensional innings as there was an element of grace as well, an inside-out lofted drive off Peterson revealing precise footwork and timing.

At the other end, Aiden Blizzard started promisingly, cutting Steyn for a six over third-man, but sensing the touch of his junior partner the left-handed Australian curbed his intentions of a double barrel firing. But the showbiz didn’t last long as Kanwar perished to Peterson, one of Owais Shah’s four catches in the deep. Blizzard and Ambati Rayudu didn’t last long as Indians stumbled from 65 for no loss in six overs to 75 for three in 9.2 overs.

Fear might have crept into the Mumbai Indians dug-out like a slithering snake, imagining another mid-innings meltdown. But it wasn’t to be so tonight. The contrasting pair of Pollard and James Franklin added 69 runs off 43 balls to shatter the morale of Cobras’ bowlers, and the grumpy face of their skipper Justin Kemp, beamed often in the giant screen, evidenced it. Pollard, a largely silent spectator in the first two matches, lived up to his reputation of being an awesome hitter, giving an absolute smashing to the leather.

The big Trinidadian opened the floodgates with a massive six off Duminy that sailed 98 meters into the long-on stand. With Pollard in his zone, there was nothing the Cobras could do apart from waiting him to make a mistake.

That mistake came much after Pollard went past his fifty, and the Indians reached a formidable total -- a miscued loft off Kemp.

It could have been a cracking contest, but the nature selected a wrong moment to show its might.