Mumbai Indians 208 for 5 (de Kock 67, Krunal 20, Rashid 1-22) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 174 for 7 (Warner 60, Boult 2-28, Pattinson 2-29) by 34 runs
There is life in the graveyard. Mumbai Indians conquered Sharjah and Sunrisers Hyderabad with a typically freakish bowling performance.
Trent Boult’s quality with the new ball continues to translate into early wickets – and this time he was good in the death too. James Pattinson is more than making up for the loss of Lasith Malinga. And Krunal Pandya – having thumped 20 runs off the final four balls of the innings to get the total up to 208 – afforded only 35 in return, even on such a tiny ground, to keep the pressure on the opposition.
Mumbai gave away no easy runs. They were ruthless about letting a partnership develop. They were worthy winners.
Usually, when Sunrisers need early wickets, they just toss the ball to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But with him injured, they had to find another way to contain a very strong Mumbai line-up.
So in came Sandeep Sharma, a man with the skill to move the ball, which has perhaps contributed to his excellent head-to-head against Rohit Sharma. Before today, it read 29 runs in 33 balls and two dismissals. Now it’s 35 runs, 38 balls and three dismissals, as Rohit went chasing after a wide ball and nicked off. That wicket went a long way to keeping Mumbai to 48 for 2, the lowest Powerplay score this IPL in Sharjah.
There were signs that the pitch, unbelievably, offered the bowlers some grip. Not good news for batsmen who love hitting through the line. And for a while, Quinton de Kock tried to find creative solutions to this problem, attempting scoops and reverse sweeps and, well, failing to find runs. He was 25 off 20 in the eighth over. And then, like light at the end of the tunnel, came a half-volley and he launched it down the ground for six. This is where de Kock lives. A place where he can muscle cricket balls all day long. Once he got back in touch with his power game, making his 11th IPL fifty was just a matter of time.
A mouth-watering finish
Sunrisers tried to save Rashid Khan’s overs against Mumbai’s biggest hitters because they haven’t been able to hit him. Kieron Pollard’s IPL strike-rate against the ace legspiner is 76 and Hardik Pandya’s is only 57. But they realised the more immediate threat was de Kock and so Rashid was brought back in the 14th over and one of his googlies did the trick. Mumbai were 134 for 3. Rashid’s final over went for only two runs as Pollard and Pandya both chose to play him out. Then it happened.
Pandya began hitting short balls for sixes with a vertical bat. Pollard cleared the long-off boundary with a chip. Manish Pandey took a diving catch that will adorn IPL highlight reels for a long time. T Natarajan bowled like a dream in the most trying conditions, his yorkers negating Mumbai’s two biggest hitters. It was bare-knuckle cricket, neither team willing to give any quarter. But then came the final over – Siddharth Kaul hit the blockhole and made a mess of Hardik’s stumps, so in walked his brother Krunal and promptly dispatched the bowler for 6, 4, 4, 6.
It’s no exaggeration to say Sunrisers’ batting relies mainly on one man. A huge part of that is because of how naturally he is able to adapt to that pressure. David Warner is not in prime form. A consequence of lockdown, perhaps. But he still runs like a demon between the wickets. He still doesn’t throw his wicket away. He still wants to fight. And that was on display here as he fought his way to a half-century. At the start, when he wasn’t in nick, he did his best not to eat up deliveries. Later, as he became more like his usual self, he was able to do amazing things, like cut Jasprit Bumrah’s first two balls to the point boundary. He got to 50 off 34 balls but the other end couldn’t be as careful as him, as determined as him and so the Sunrisers chase faltered.
Jonny Bairstow loves pace on the ball, so Boult took it off, watched him lose his shape and then his wicket. Williamson is the same way. Cue another Boult slower ball and bragging rights for life. Pandey was caught in the deep going for a six against the newly-brought back Pattinson when it was very clear Mumbai were looking for a wicket. Krunal was so ferociously switched on that after nailing a wide yorker against Warner and keeping it to just a dot, he punched the air as if that itself was victory. Boult, again, though he has a reputation of leaking runs in the death, was so precise with his yorkers that he gave away only four runs in the 18th over. Two balls later, there was a wicket. There was always a wicket.