Delhi Daredevils opener Jason Roy made a blistering start to his 2018 IPL campaign by hitting an unbeaten 91 on Saturday as Mumbai Indians once against lost a last-over thriller, this time by seven wickets with no balls to spare.
The Mumbai Indians hit top gear in the powerplay batting first, racing to 100 without loss in the ninth over. But the Daredevils hit back at the death, taking five wickets in the last five overs for just 36 runs as the hosts posted 194-7.
In reply, Englishman Roy took it upon himself to get the job done as he scored almost half of the team’s runs. His 53-ball knock included six hits to the fence and as many over it and despite facing three dot balls in a tense final over bowled by Mustafizur Rahman, Roy took Delhi past the finish line.
It was the third straight defeat in the final over for defending champions Mumbai. They lost the first two matches of the campaign by one wicket – with one and zero balls to spare – and on Saturday they lost the match off the final ball.
It was a new opening combination for Mumbai Indians with captain Rohit Sharma moving to the middle order. Evin Lewis (48 off 28 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (53 off 32 balls) added 102 inside nine overs for the opening wicket. Both looked equally at ease against spin and pace on a true Wankhede wicket. They were also helped by the fact that the Daredevils bowling attack only had two prominent names in Trent Boult and Mohammed Shami.
DELHI PULL THINGS BACK
At 158-2 after 15 overs and with captain Rohit at the crease, a total of 200 seemed to be there for the taking. However, Daredevils pacer Dan Christian took the wickets of Ishan Kishan (44) and Kieron Pollard (0) off successive balls to stem the run flow. In the last 27 balls of the innings, Mumbai made just 28 runs and lost five wickets.
JASON TEES OFF
With Colin Munro struggling, the Daredevils went for Roy and the Englishman took the Wankhede by storm. While fellow opener and captain Gautam Gambhir moved along at barely run a ball, Roy went after Mumbai bowlers. He targeted seam and spin with equal disdain during his 91, ensuring he will be the first name to be picked in the Delhi squad from here on.
Roy was matched shot for shot by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (47 off 25 balls) who played an authoritative innings, something he hasn’t managed regularly for some time.
Mumbai Indians becomes first team to lose two consecutive IPL games with 0 balls to spare...— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) April 14, 2018
ROY FINISHES THE GAME
Mumbai Indians, as has become the norm, fought back and took the game to the final over. Two fine catches in the deep – Pollard off Krunal Pandya at long off to dismiss Pant and Hardik Pandya off Krunal at extra cover to see the back of Glenn Maxwell (13) – put the pressure back on Daredevils.
Shreyas Iyer (27 off 20 balls) kept the tempo up after being helped by two dropped catches by Rahman at short third man in the 17th over. But a fine penultimate over by Jasprit Bumrah – where he gave away just five runs – meant Delhi needed 11 from the final over by Rahman.
Roy hit the first two balls for a four and a six but the Bangladesh seamer fought back by bowling three consecutive off cutters that beat the bat. With one needed off the last ball, Roy finally connected and the ball sailed over the infield as the Daredevils scampered home to victory.
After falling to defeat despite scoring 202 in Chennai Super Kings’ homecoming, Kolkata Knight Riders will banking on the comforts of home themselves when they host Sunrisers Hyderabad at Eden Gardens on Saturday (18:30).
Having swept aside Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue in their IPL opener, Dinesh Karthik and his men will have their task cut out against Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers who have won both their fixtures so far.
NO TIME FOR REST IN THE IPL
On Thursday evening, the Sunrisers beat Mumbai Indians in a nail-biter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. Less than 48 hours later, they will be playing at Eden Gardens in Kolkata as the matches keep coming thick and fast in the IPL.
This could put a question mark over the availability of their bowling spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar who had to miss Thursday’s clash against the Indians due to a sore back.
One the other hand, the Knight Riders’ last match was on Tuesday, providing them ample time to prepare for the clash.
SUNRISERS’ STRONG BOWLING
While the contrast between their two wins so far has been stark, there is one common theme to Sunrisers’ perfect start to the IPL. The bowling attack at Williamson’s disposal seems head and shoulders above those of the remaining sides.
Despite Bhuvneshwar’s absence on Friday, youngster Sandeep Sharma filled in seamlessly as the hosts restricted Mumbai to just 148 in their 20 overs.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has simply been a class act with the ball while Siddharth Kaul has been a revelation in the pace department. Add in Bangladesh ace Shakib Al Hasan and Aussie express pacer Billy Stanlake into mix and you have one of the most complete bowling units you will ever find.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
While Kolkata have some excellent spinners in their ranks in the form of Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, they seem to be a bit light in the pace department. Vinay Kumar was taken for 35 runs in just 11 deliveries in the defeat to Chennai and his poor showing could open the doors for either of India’s U19 World Cup winning pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi.
Also in focus will be their opener Chris Lynn who has not yet fired in the two matches so far. The Australian left-hander is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the T20 game and if he gets into his zone, it will be difficult for even Hyderabad’s famed bowling attack to rein him in.
For Hyderabad, Shikhar Dhawan is looking in ominous form after two sparkling knocks and the tone he sets at the top could very well define Sunrisers’ innings.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C, wk), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Rashid Khan, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s men ran the hosts close despite having a modest total of 155 to defend as the home side clinched victory with three balls to spare.
17-year-old Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman put in another impressive display as he finished with figures of 1/29.
Here, we take a closer look at the youngster’s spell.
RUNS CONCEDED: 29
With Kings XI defending a modest total, the Afghan teenager was brought on to bowl in the power-play and he delivered in confident style after conceding only three runs in his opening two overs while picking up the wicket of Virat Kohli. The wealth of subtle variations at his disposal made Mujeeb almost impossible to get away as batsmen found it hard to read his wrong-one. It was only in his final over that he was inflicted some punishment by AB de Villiers.
How good has young Mujeeb been for #KXIP in this game so far.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 13, 2018
With his confidence already bolstered after a stupendous debut, the spinner’s first task on Friday was to put a brake on the scoring rate and he performed it admirably, showing no signs of nerves while bowling to some of the world’s best batsmen in Kohli and AB de Villiers. Not one to overdo his googly, Mujeeb used it sparingly but to lethal effect at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
Quite simply, nothing. Mujeeb’s mastery of the art of spin still remains a novelty in the IPL with the teenager coming in as a surprise package. That even the likes of Kohli were struggling to read his googly speaks volumes about the impact the Afghan youngster has had. His only gripe will be with his final over where he conceded two sixes and a boundary but you can’t really blame the young man given it was De Villliers doing the tonking. Went for 19 in that over to spoil his otherwise excellent figures.
QUITE FIRST OVER
Bowing the third over in the power play, Mujeeb conceded just two runs while having Quinton de Kock and Kohli as the batsmen to contend with. That tight over helped Punjab build the run-rate pressure on the home side.
If Mujeeb’s first over was good, his second was a showstopper. After bowling two dot-balls to Kohli, the youngster showed his class with a ripping googly that had the RCB skipper completely flummoxed. Pitching in on off stump, it spun in sharply to dislodge Kohli’s stumps with the batsman playing for the conventional spin. To get arguably the world’s best limited-overs batsman dismissed in that fashion as a 17-year-old is worthy of special praise.
— ICC (@ICC) April 13, 2018
VERDICT – 7/10
For the second match in a row, the Afghan spin prodigy has had everyone sit up and notice his outrageous talents. His team might have ended up on the losing side but Mujeeb’s meteoric rise continues. The final over takes some sheen off an impressive performance but he will have a big role to play in Kings XI’s campaign this season judging by the faith bestowed on him by skipper Ravichandran Ashwin.