Lions beat Mumbai in Airtel Champions League Twenty20 opener

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The Airtel Champions League Twenty20 got off to a thrilling start on Friday night when local side, the Highveld Lions, pulled off a major upset by beating glamour side the Mumbai Indians by nine runs in the opening match.

Chasing a target of 187 to win, the Mumbai Indians made 177 for six, including a magnificent 69 off 42 deliveries by Sachin Tendulkar.

Sent in to bat, the Lions started off nervously but soon settled down, after a mix-up between Alviro Petersen and Jonathan Vandiar saw them racing for the same crease. Vandiar got there a fraction of a second ahead of his captain, who had to go, run out for 12.

But Vandiar made up for running his captain out by scoring a career-best 71 off 48 balls, and sharing in a brilliant partnership of 64 off 37 balls with Neil McKenzie. Vandiar was finally out, caught by Tendulkar off Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga, but McKenzie carried on where he left off, and took the Lions to a challenging total of 186 for five. Zaheer Khan conceded 17 runs off the last over, starting with McKenzie smacking him for six. McKenzie was unbeaten on a silky smooth 56 off 30 balls.

Malinga was the most successful bowler for the Mumbai Indians, taking three wickets for 33, including two wickets in one over.

Tendulkar opened the Indians’ innings with Shikhar Dhawan, and while they were together, the IPL side appeared to be cruising to victory. They put on 83 together before Dhawan tried to reverse-sweep Aaron Phangiso, only to be caught by Richard Cameron at short third man for 32.

Ambati Rayudu barely got going before he was brilliantly run out for three by a direct throw at the wickets by Petersen. Tendulkar continued to flay the Lions’ bowling, hitting boundaries at will, but he was finally beaten by Shane Burger when he stepped aside to make room only to see the ball cannon into his stumps. Burger did it again in his next over, when he got rid of another danger man, Kieron Pollard, with a perfect Yorker.

South African JP Duminy made an elegant 30 before he was caught in the deep by Petersen off Zander de Bruyn and at that stage, it was evident that the wheels were coming off for the Mumbai Indians. With two overs to go, they needed 24 runs, and after Rajagopal Sathish was run out for two in the 19th over, it was game over.

The Lions will take great heart from this victory. Their next match is against the South Australian Redbacks at Centurion on Sunday and they will go into that match on a high.

The Mumbai Indians will have to do some soul-searching and regroup before their next match, also against the Redbacks, at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.

TKK (not verified)
Go Malinga!!! I am so happy

Go Malinga!!! I am so happy to see him doing well.

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