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IPL2015: All-round Mumbai continue to surge

May 6th, 2015 | by admin
IPL2015: All-round Mumbai continue to surge
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Mumbai Indians alternated between brilliance and brain-freeze, and despite inexplicably fiddling with their batting order again, trumped Delhi Daredevils by five wickets and three balls to spare. A large chunk of the credit for their fourth win in a row ought to go to Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu, who raised a 60-run stand to resurrect the innings after Daredevils had made a competitive, if not imposing, 152.

When Rohit was bowled by Amit Mishra’s wrong one for 46 off 37 balls, Mumbai still needed 53 off 28 balls. But, Kieron Pollard biffed an unbeaten 26 off 14, while Rayudu, shifting gears in the end, remained a rock-solid presence, staying unbeaten for 40 balls.

Mumbai had to contend with the opponents’ weighty bowling line-up as well as two rain interruptions, even as their own bizarre batting line-up almost did them in. But, after Rohit and Rayudu had turned around a dire situation into one where they had a realistic shout, they closed out the game with ease.

Like Daredevils, Mumbai, too, were a man down by the time the first legal delivery was sent down. Zaheer Khan continued with his good showing, prising out Lendl Simmons in a manner that was reminiscent of his bowling in the early 2000s, a length ball swinging back into the right-handed batsman to pin him in front.

Mumbai countered by sending in Hardik Pandya at No. 3, in sync with their revolving-door batting order this season. With Nathan Coulter-Nile being a bristling presence at the other end, Daredevils captain JP Duminy sniffed the possibility of a few more wickets, and deployed a short-leg for Pandya.

The attacking mindset worked as Pandya perished soon, top-edging a pull, and he was joined in the dug-out by Parthiv Patel. Mumbai continued to surprise, promoting Harbhajan Singh ahead of Rayudu, and he played one onto the stumps after carting the previous ball over Coulter-Nile’s head. Mumbai had slumped to 40 for 4 by the sixth over, and the players had to head back to the change rooms due to rain only minutes after they had first gone off the field after lightning pierced through the Mumbai sky.

As play resumed not long after, Rohit had to keep one eye on the Duckworth-Lewis scores, and he was duly armed with sheets of paper in his pocket. There was a similarly calculative approach to Rohit and Rayudu’s partnership, as they looked to take the match deep. Mumbai required 92 to win at the half-way mark, but they continued trading in bunts and whippety drives off Mishra and Imran Tahir, knowing their time would come.

Eventually, as they got themselves closer, Rohit brought into play his preferred straight hits more frequently, and after his dismissal, Rayudu and Pollard launched a series of crunchy strikes to damage the bowlers’ confidence irreversibly.

Daredevils had a disruptive rhythm to their innings themselves, losing Mayank Agarwal to a lazy poke off the first ball after opting to bat. Duminy began by pulling Lasith Malinga for a four and then took a liking for Vinay Kumar’s gentle pace, clobbering the ball over midwicket and back over the bowler’s head.

Shreyas Iyer took three fours off a Mitchell McClenaghan over where he was reprieved after J Suchith and Pandya nearly collided with each other. But after adding 43 runs in five overs, Iyer and Duminy were dismissed in successive overs, denting Daredevils’ surge.

Yuvraj scratched around for a while, more eking out runs than plundering them. He was also constrained in equal parts by the lack of a stable partner at the other end and Harbhajan’s niggardly bowling, which was punctuated with 16 dot balls.

Having rode out the tougher phases, Yuvraj indulged his strengths, lashing Malinga for three fours in one over and smoking back-to-back sixes off McClenaghan in the next. The second of those sixes, a wristy whip condemned to the stands beyond square leg, brought up his fifty, which he celebrated with a flying kiss. Saurabh Tiwary kept Yuvraj company as they ransacked 41 runs in 20 balls, while Daredevils scored 57 runs in their last five overs.

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