Sharma stars as Mumbai hand Dhoni-less Chennai rare home loss


Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma hit his first IPL half century of the season Friday as his side inflicted a rare home defeat on champions Chennai Super Kings.

Without inspirational captain M.S. Dhoni and key all rounder Ravindra Jadeja missing through illness, the Super Kings were never in the chase for Mumbai’s 155-4.

Big-hitting Australian Shane Watson was out attempting a half-volley just five balls into the innings and Chennai crashed to 109 all out giving their foes a 46-run win. It was Chennai’s first defeat at their Chepauk stadium since May 2015 when Mumbai also came out on top.

Victory would have made the three-time champions the first side to qualify for the playoffs but Mumbai held up that charge.

Sharma hit 67 off 48 balls to anchor his side’s innings, while veteran Sri Lanka bowler Lasith Malinga took 4-37 off less than four overs.

Spinner Krunal Pandya also bowled brilliantly for his two wickets for seven runs off three overs.

“We had to scrap for every run and every wicket, you can’t ask for much more,” said Sharma after the game.

Sharma said Dhoni’s illness had been a “massive boost” for his side.

“His presence does a lot for their team. When you don’t have Dhoni when they’re chasing the score, then it becomes difficult for them.”

Mumbai, after a poor start to the season, are now second in the table and like Chennai need just one win from three games to book a place in the playoffs.