Mumbai Indians captain hails 'exceptional' Rayudu

Harbhajan hails batsmen after Rohit Sharma's anchor role and Peterson beat Punjab to the post as rain denies play in Bangalore.

Ambati Rayudu hit an unbeaten 17-ball 34 that provided the final push the Mumbai Indians needed to win the game.
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Harbhajan Singh is confident Ambati Rayudu will win a call-up to the India side after his man of the match performance in the Indian Premier League last night.

The 26 year old scored an unbeaten 17-ball 34 for the Mumbai Indians in a thrilling last over victory against the Kings XI Punjab.

And Harbhajan, the Mumbai captain, said at the post-match presentation: "The way Rayudu batted was great, he was exceptional, I have no doubts he will go on to play for India very soon."

Rayudu was modest about his performance and said he was grateful for the encouragement he had been given by Sachin Tendulkar, who turned 39 on Tuesday. "When I went in I thought even if I took only singles in the first eight or nine balls, I could accelerate later," he said.

"I'm getting a hang of playing at every position. I have to thank Sachin Sir. He helped me out a lot in the last few days when I was low."

Rohit Sharma hit an attractive 50 off 30 balls but it took unbeaten cameos from Rayudu and Robin Peterson (16 from seven balls) to guide Mumbai to 171 for six in 19.5 overs after the home team were restricted to 168 for three at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.

Rayudu and Peterson took 27 runs off the 19th over bowled by the leg-spinner Piyush Chawla to tilt the scales and help Mumbai avenge their six-wicket loss to Punjab in their previous game at Mumbai three days ago.

Mumbai needed a challenging 32 off the last two overs but Peterson produced two switch-hits for boundaries and then a six over the mid-wicket fence to turn the tide back in the Indians' favour.

Rayudu also produced two sixes in the over to leave just six runs to be scored off the last over bowled by Azhar Mahmood.

"We needed a win to get the campaign going, it was great batting from Peterson as well," Harbhajan said. "The way Rayudu, Peterson and Rohit batted, it was fantastic."

For Punjab, David Hussey, the stand-in captain for Adam Gilchrist who was nursing a hamstring injury, top-scored with an unbeaten 68.

Hussey boosted the total with some lusty shots that included four sixes and four fours.

Hussey added 89 for the unbroken fourth wicket with the South African David Miller, who made a quick 17-ball 34 with three sixes and one four, ending the innings with two consecutive sixes off the pace bowler Munaf Patel.

"A fantastic game, mirror image to the one in Mumbai," Hussey said.

"I think we had enough, [but] anything can happen in T20, and anything did.

"The penultimate over really turned the tide. You try and bowl your best bowler in the penultimate over, Chawla bowled well earlier but they got stuck in."

Mumbai have four wins and three losses while Punjab have three wins and five losses.

The second game of the day, between two-time champions Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, was abandoned without a delivery being bowled because of rain at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Both teams got a point each.