Mumbai Indians pulled off a remarkable 40-run win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday with Caribbean duo Alzarri Joseph and Kieron Pollard turning out to be heroes with ball and bat.
Mumbai seemed to have finished well below par in Hyderabad with only Pollard’s 26-ball 46 taking them to a respectable total of 136-7.
However, that turned out to be more than enough on a helpful track as West Indies pacer Joseph – playing his first IPL game – tore through the Sunrisers line-up by picking up 6-12. It was the best bowling performance in IPL history, bettering Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir’s 6-14 in the 2008 season.
Sunrisers were bowled out for just 96 as Mumbai romped to a massive win.
MUMBAI STRUGGLE FOR TIMING
The slowish nature of the Uppal pitch on Saturday saw Mumbai batsmen struggle to get their timing right. Skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the ball to move around while off-spinner Mohammad Nabi got into the act once again to be among the wickets.
Captain Rohit Sharma was given a reprieve early on with seamer Siddarth Kaul dropping a sitter at third man in the first over itself. But that didn’t cost the hosts much as Nabi had Rohit caught a mid-wicket a couple of overs later. Runs were hard to come by as Mumbai screeched to 52-3 after 10 overs, well behind the eight ball.
NABI AND RASHID SHOW
Sunrisers held their ace bowler – Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan – back for the slog overs and pushed Nabi to bowl the power play overs. That worked out perfectly as Nabi ended up conceding just 13 runs from his four overs.
Rashid was pressed into action from the 10th over when Pollard and later Hardik Pandya came to the crease. With four overs to go, Mumbai were struggling at 80-5 and Hardik tried to get a move on, depositing Rashid over long on before getting caught at midwicket going for an encore.
POLLARD MAKES SUNRISERS PAY
Rashid dropped a sitter of Pollard at cover with the batsman on eight of 12 balls. That drop ended up hurting the hosts. The Trinidadian hit seamer Kaul for three sixes in the penultimate over before clobbering Bhuvneshwar for two fours and six. A dropped chance by Nabi at square leg in the final over that went for a six and a misfield by Deepak Hooda at long on that resulted in a four gave Mumbai momentum right at the end.
In all, Pollard smashed four sixes and two fours in his 26-ball 46. In the context of a low scoring game, it was a match-winning effort.
MUMBAI TURN UP THE HEAT
Sunrisers have relied heavily on openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow to do the bulk of the scoring. That has meant their middle order hasn’t been tested. On a pitch that had a bit in it for seamers and spinners, Mumbai struck early with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar getting Bairstow to mis-hit a slog to short third man before new recruit Joseph struck first ball- castling David Warner.
When Vijay Shankar miscued Joseph to point, Sunrisers were 42-3.
JOSEPH TAKES CENTRESTAGE
Even so, Sunrisers were in with a chance at 84-5 needing 53 from 30 balls. But Rohit brought Joseph back into the attack with an older ball and the Antiguan got the ball to curve in a mile.
Hooda lost his middle stump trying to launch Joseph. Next ball, Rashid tried to attack a short ball from the lanky quick but could only offer a simple return catch. Captain Bhuvneshwar also lost his middle stump to a sharp in-coming delivery from Joseph before last man Kaul edged an away going ball to the keeper. The 22-year-old ended up with the best figures in IPL history, and that too on debut.
It’s an interesting clash between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL on Sunday, with one team trying to find its feet and the other putting all its eggs in one basket – Andre Russell.
As the teams gear up for an intense clash, fans can fight it out online through the IPL Fantasy League. Dream XI – official partners of the tournament – run a fantasy league per round and for each matches. Here we help you ace the daily contest.
BATSMAN: Chris Lynn (9.5 credits)
The Kolkata batsman has scored more runs with each outing, cracking 43 in the previous clash against RCB. Given that the game is being played on a good batting pitch like Jaipur, expect Lynn to get continue the rise in scores.
BOWLER: Shreyas Gopal (8.5 cr)
The Rajasthan leg-spinner is proving to be particularly difficult to negotiate. After picking up a three-for against Sunrisers, Gopal got three big fishes – Virat Kohli, ABD and Shimron Hetmyer – in his last clash. His economy is 5.5, which is worth its weight in gold.
WICKETKEEPER: Jos Buttler (10.5 cr)
The Rajasthan wicketkeeper batsman bounced back to form by hitting the second fifty of the season in the last match against RCB. If the Englishman gets going, fifty or more is almost guaranteed. Plus, dismissals with the gloves should add some icing on the cake.
ALL-ROUNDER: Andre Russell (10 cr)
Do we need to explain this one? Dre Rus is simply going to see ball, hit ball and send it out of the ground. Fantasy players aren’t even looking at his bowling and wickets anymore.
CAPTAIN: Andre Russell
VICE-CAPTAIN: Jos Buttler
Chennai’s spinners, especially Harbhajan Singh, were the stars of the show as excellent half-centuries by KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan went in vain for Punjab.
Faf du Plessis’ half-century had earlier helped the hosts post a challenging 160-3 on a slow deck at Chennai before Kings XI were restricted to 138-5 in their 20 overs. The win was Chennai’s fourth of the tournament from five games with the defending champions looking like the team to beat once again.
ASHWIN’S HAPPY HOMECOMING
Former Chennai stalwart Ravi Ashwin admitted to being emotional on his return to his old stomping ground but the Kings XI skipper barely showed any of it on the pitch with an excellent display.
The wily off-spinner might have erred by not picking Mujeeb ur Rahman in the playing XI on a spin-friendly track but he more than did his own part with the ball. Ashwin gave the visitors the crucial breakthrough after Chennai openers Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson had put on a 56-run stand by getting the better of the latter.
He saved his best for his final over where he dismissed the well set Du Plessis and Suresh Raina off consecutive deliveries to bring Kings XI roaring back into the game. With those dismissals, Ashwin has now become the most prolific bowler at the Chepauk stadium in IPL history.
CHENNAI START WELL AND FINISH WELL WITH BAT
MS Dhoni’s decision to bat first after winning the toss was vindicated by Watson and Faf who added 54 runs in the powerplay overs. The South African batsman was the more impressive of the pair with Du Plessis making the most of his maiden outing in the 2019 campaign.
The right-hander struck four sixes on his way to a 38-ball 54 before his innings was brought to an end by Ashwin. Chennai’s strong start with the bat was in danger of going to waste with Ashwin dragging Kings XI back into the match but skipper Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu provided them the much-needed late flourish with a flurry of boundaries.
In all, 44 runs came off the final 18 deliveries for the hosts with Dhoni continuing his excellent form with another powerful finish which saw the veteran smash a 23-ball 37.
CHENNAI SPINNERS CHOKE PUNJAB DESPITE RAHUL, SARFRAZ FIFTIES
Punjab’s chase of 161 began on a disastrous note with veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh dismissing Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in a double-wicket maiden over. However, the visitors regrouped well through KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan.
Both Rahul and Sarfaraz struck half-centuries as they stitched together a 110-run stand which would have been a match-winning one on any other day. While Chennai were deprived of wickets for long stretches of the innings, their spinners did well on a slow surface to restrict Punjab’s scoring rate to manageable levels.
Harbhajan finished with excellent figures of 2-14 while Ravindra Jadeja went for only 24 runs in his four overs. Imran Tahir was unlucky to go wicket-less but the leg-spinner conceded only 20 runs from his quota. By the time the three spinners had bowled out in the 17th over, the equation for Punjab was 46 off 18.
Despite having eight wickets in hand at the stage, that proved too huge a mountain to climb for the visitors with the spin-contingent’s 12 overs proving to be the deciding factor.
Chennai Super Kings: 160-3
Faf du Plessis: 54 (38)
Ravi Ashwin: 3-23
Kings XI Punjab: 138-5
Sarfaraz Khan: 67 (55)
KL Rahul: 55 (47)