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Malinga is the real game-changer: Harbhajan

Maharashtra,Sports, Thu, 12 Apr 2012 IANS

Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) Mumbai Indians' skipper Harbhajan Singh has lauded Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga whose dismissal of Owais Shah was the key to their 27-run win over Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Wankhede Stadium here.


Chasing a target of 198, Shah almost took Rajasthan Royals home smashing 76 off 42 balls Wednesday night before being bowled by Lasith Malinga.


While Kieron Pollard and Munaf Patel bagged four wickets each, Malinga was the game- changer as he dismissed Shah and Johan Botha in the crucial 14th over to pull back things for Mumbai Indians. Malinga conceded 13 runs for two wickets off four overs.


"You can bring him (Malinga) any time. If Shah had batted three more overs, the game would have finished in 19 overs. Lot of credit to Shah for the way he batted," Harbhajan said after the match.


"The dew was a problem, but when you have 197 on the board, the opposition still have to keep the score moving," he added.


Rajasthan's skipper, Rahul Dravid, said they could have won the match if Shah had batted through the innings.


"We thought we had a chance when Shah was batting. (But) Malinga made the difference with his wicket. We needed to bat on. We were under the pump a little bit," Dravid said.


"There was a little panic among the youngsters. It is an inexperienced attack. But there are a lot (of) positives. It is a bunch of talented kids who want to do well."


Pollard, who was adjudged Man of the Match for smashing 64 off 33, said: "The team needed that impetus. Royals played really well, but we knew 10-11 runs every over would be difficult. (There was) a fantastic atmosphere. You can say that Mumbai is my second home."


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